February 22, 2017

Verizon Accelerates IoT Innovation with the Purchase of VZV Portfolio Company Skyward

When we announced our seed investment in Skyward in 2015, the Verizon Ventures team recognized the promise that drone operations software could bring in building the aerial Internet. We quickly concluded that by enabling businesses of all sizes to efficiently manage their drone operations - linking all of the people, projects and equipment in an efficient workflow - Skyward’s technology removes the complexity of operating drones at scale and has the power to transform industries (Click to Tweet). As Verizon looks to drive innovation and IoT services in high-growth markets, we are proud to announce the acquisition of Skyward.

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As a corporate VC (CVC), it’s our goal to identify synergies with our larger organization’s long-term strategy. With Skyward we saw the early alignment of the emerging commercial drone industry with Verizon’s IoT strategy, from connectivity to enabling software platforms to full end-to-end solutions.  Our initial investment in Skyward gave us unique insights into opportunities and use cases that drones can deliver, and ultimately helped to accelerate the drone component of Verizon’s overall IoT strategy.  This acquisition demonstrates how CVCs can support and advance innovation for their parents by making smart forward-looking bets in emerging technologies, and the Verizon Ventures team is thrilled to see this partnership come full circle (Click to Tweet).

It’s exciting to see Verizon begin to seize the opportunities around drones and UAVs. When we first engaged with Jonathan Evans and his best-in-class team, we saw UAV manufacturers like DJI and 3DR gaining the most traction, headlines and investments. Drones at that time were largely perceived to be toys for taking pictures and much of the attention was focused on the consumer market. Through our early interactions with Skyward, we began to see the potential for drones to be powerful enterprise tools and the need for a horizontal operations platform to manage the growing fleets of equipment and to simplify drone operations into a seamless workflow.  Skyward and its team of professional pilots and computer scientists have created a platform that cuts across industry verticals and serves as a common drone operations environment for enterprises in agriculture, construction, energy, mining, news, retail, sports and a host of other industries.  If you’re an enterprise looking to unlock the business value of drones, look Skyward.  

Leveraging Verizon’s core assets, which include network, scale, fleet management, data analytics and security enablement capabilities, the Skyward acquisition will accelerate Verizon’s strategy to simplify the drone industry and drive IoT adoption. We are at the bend of the curve and in the next few years, we expect to see commercial drone operations take off and revolutionize tasks, from aerial data collection to package delivery. Verizon Ventures is thrilled to see the commercial drone industry take shape, and together, Skyward and Verizon’s technology platforms are leading the charge to help enterprises create business value from the aerial Internet. 

Tags: David Famolari , UAV , drones , Skyward