Kara Swisher

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Commercial Drone Platform Company Gets $10.7 Million From Andreessen Horowitz and Google Ventures

osFlexQuad inserted into Delta Drone 2.0 small

Airware, a startup that is creating a software platform for commercial drones, said it had raised $10.7 million in a Series A funding round led by Andreessen Horowitz. Google Ventures also participated. As part of the deal, Andreessen Horowitz partner Chris Dixon will join Airware’s board.

The Newport Beach, Calif., company said it would use the money to expand staff for its universal development platform as the market for non-military drones expands.

Airware founder and CEO Jonathan Downey said that uses of drones will be increasing for a wide range of purposes, from checking infrastructure to monitoring mining operations to preventing poaching.

In an interview, Downey said that he expects to compete with a range of ex-military efforts, but that the most successful companies will be those that provide a platform to allow for the widest range of innovations.

“This is going to be about a lot more than we know or can guess,” he said. “The industry is at its very beginnings.”

Dixon agrees. “Hardware is the new software,” he said about the investment in Airware, which he said he discovered after attending conferences about the fast-moving drones business, noting that the overall field of robotics has “overpromised and underdelivered.”

Airware came out of both the Lemnos Labs and Y Combinator incubators and had raised seed financing from First Round Capital, Firelake Capital, RRE Ventures, Shasta Ventures, Promus Ventures and several Y Combinator partners.

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work