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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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus