Zeitview, formerly known as DroneBase, has raised $55 million. The company uses drones to capture data about how assets change over time. Zeitview claims it’s deployed drones to snap photos of wind turbines in the Atlantic Ocean and thermal data from “utility-scale” solar farms.
Zeitview, formerly known as DroneBase, said today that it has received $55 million to further expand its air and ground data collecting technology. The round, led by Valor Equity Partners with participation from Union Square Ventures, Upfront Ventures, Euclidean Capital, Energy Transition Ventures, and Hearst Ventures, will go towards product expansion, customer acquisition, and ongoing recruitment efforts, according to CEO Dan Burton in an interview with TechCrunch.
Zeitview was launched in 2014 with the objective of providing businesses with a new resource: the sky. Burton, who has a penchant for drones and other cutting-edge technology, recognised an opportunity to use aerial robotics and sensors to collect data on how assets, such as solar panels and turbines, evolve over time.
After serving in the military, Burton worked briefly at Goldman Sachs before launching Zeitview in 2014. He claims to have flown the company’s first 100 or so drone operations himself.
“I was persuaded that robotics could enable enhanced inspections that were safer, faster, more precise, and less expensive than old-school analogue inspections,” Burton explained in an email. “Zeitview provides innovative inspection software to global customers in energy and infrastructure that enhances asset performance and longevity while cutting operating costs.”
I haven’t double-checked Burton’s arithmetic, but Zeitview’s solutions might not be cheaper than manual inspections, depending on how involved the inspections are. However, it is reasonable to say that it is more technologically advanced.
Zeitview uses drones to collect data on infrastructure such as wind turbines and solar panels, including photos and thermal measurements, and then processes that data via AI algorithms. The algorithms detect and identify anomalies such as damaged turbine blades, alerting consumers to problems as they arise.
Zeitview distributes inspection pictures and machine learning-powered insights to investors, utility corporations, and legislators, in addition to asset owners. Zeitview, for example, scans large-scale solar plants and grades them on a one-to-three scale, with each letter representing a different aspect of the sites’ status; the ratings are then bundled into a paid reporting service.
DroneBase Rebrands As Zeitview
Zeitview claims to have used drones to photograph wind turbines in the Atlantic Ocean, real estate complexes after a Texas hurricane, and thermal data from “utility-scale” solar farms since its inception.
“We have expertise across asset classes, and we support whatever way a customer wants to acquire data: as a service globally via our network, inspect themselves using our software, or hybrid approaches,” Burton added. “We prioritise lowering our customers’ operational and maintenance costs while offering safer, faster, and more accurate responses.”
Drones may no longer be the keyword of the moment, but investors continue to pour money into specialist drone startups, such as those with analytics components. According to one estimate, venture capital investments in drone firms hit $7 billion in 2021 over 199 transactions, up from $2.4 billion in 2022.
In the developing drone services market, Zeitview competes with companies such as PrecisionHawk, Skyspecs, and Raptor Maps. Prenav, which is developing a drone-based system that allows corporations to remotely monitor infrastructure such as buildings and mobile phone towers, and Saildrone, which maintains a fleet of seafaring drones that collect data from the world’s oceans, are two more competitors.
Zeitview, which employs roughly 200 people, claims to have customers that include “several of the leading OEMs in renewable energy as well as key asset owners and operations and maintenance providers for wind and solar assets” — as well as insurance, roofing, and property management firms. “As a startup offering sophisticated inspection, we accelerated throughout the epidemic by leveraging local workers and worldwide software,” Burton noted.
It should be mentioned that Zeitview benefits from the overall strength of the aerial imaging market. According to Global Market Insights, technical developments and innovation will propel it to $25 billion by 2032. According to the paper, aerial photography plays a “significant” and “extremely important” role in recording the effects of climate change, safeguarding resources, and lowering emissions, among other things.
“A rise in natural catastrophes, such as floods, tropical cyclones, storm surges, and wildfires, will increase the significance and need for advanced aerial imaging systems to analyse the damages caused by such events,” the authors of Global Market Insights noted. Those sentiments are shared by Neal Dikeman of Energy Transition Ventures. He wrote in an email:
“Aerial inspection is a vital requirement in the renewable energy and infrastructure industries, and Zeitview stands out as the only firm in the built environment, renewables, and utility infrastructure sectors globally,” Burton added. “Their dedication to lowering inspection costs for customers worldwide positions them as a market leader in the energy transition business.”
At Truoosh, we’re here to help you navigate this overwhelming world of stuff. All of our market picks are independently selected and curated by the editorial team. All product details reflect the price and availability at the time of publication. If you buy something we link to on our site, Truoosh may earn commission.