The latest drone industry startup to score new funding is CA-based Ware, a technology startup deploying autonomous drones for warehouse inventory counting. The Ware funding, $2.5 million in seed-round funding, is heavily driven by drone industry insiders who recognize the potential market for warehouse applications.
The Ware funding round was led by “UP Partners, with participation from Bloomberg Beta, 2048 Ventures, Tom McInerney—angel investor in companies like Uber—and drone industry expert Adam Bry, CEO of Skydio,” says the company press release. UP Partners is a new, early stage VC fund – co-founded and managed by Ben Marcus, co-founder of airspace intelligence company AirMap.
“We’re extremely excited because this new capital will help us grow the Ware team even faster and continue deploying our autonomous systems into new customers’ facilities around the globe,” Ware CEO Ian Smith tells DRONELIFE.
Warehouse inventory counting represents a huge market niche – and its a problem that can be made more efficient with automation, including drones. “…Ware combines drones’ ability to quickly access and capture data of an entire facility, then apply proprietary algorithmic data processing to deliver accurate reports, ultimately transforming the way warehouses and distribution centers count and manage their inventory,” says the press release. “This is especially important as increased consumer e-commerce spending due to COVID-19 has created additional stresses for warehouses.”
Here’s how Ware works:
- Self-flying drones soar throughout the warehouse, collecting images of pallet locations, data from barcodes, and other inventory information.
- With their pre-programmed flight pattern completed, the drones return to their “Nests” inside the warehouse, where they recharge and transmit their cargo of data to Ware’s cloud.
- Ware’s processing engine analyzes the drone imagery, distills the data, and delivers it into an easy-to-use format. Interactive reports in Ware’s cloud software are provided to inventory control teams to make decisions with and take action on.
“Understanding the true state of inventory in today’s massive warehouses requires a significant amount of manual labor and time-consuming routines,” notes Ware’s Chief Executive Officer Ian Smith. “Our investors understand how Ware is meeting this challenge. Their support is especially gratifying amidst the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 and the stress it has exerted on global supply chains.”
The Ware funding will be used to grow the team (they’re hiring!) and expand the business. It’s not only a solution that offers significant value for the warehousing industry, it’s one that drone industry players have evaluated, understood – and are ready to put their money behind.
“We are thrilled to be partnered with Ian, Joe, and the entire Ware team. Ware’s innovations are not only streamlining a very time-consuming and error-prone part of every business that handles goods, they’re also answering the call to improve efficiency and decrease cost in the increasingly dynamic and higher throughput supply chain,” said Ben Marcus of UP Partners.