Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

During Drones’ Big Week, Drone-Maker 3D Robotics Discloses Some More Funding

It’s a pretty good week to be in the drone business, given the spotlight Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has thrown on the burgeoning space with his way-way-out-in-the-future announcement that he wants to deliver products with flying drones.

Drone maker 3D Robotics and one of its investors are grabbing a little of that attention today by disclosing that Mayfield Fund participated in a previously announced $30 million Series B round. Mayfield contributed $6 million.

By the way, noted Mayfield partner Tim Chang, “There’s a pretty good clue as to who powers the autonomous drone system in the Amazon video.”

Though that was too vague a hint for my uninitiated eyes, searching around on Chang’s tip led me to this thread on 3D Robotics’ DIY Drones forum, where people point out that Amazon seems to be using the company’s GPS/compass module, and CEO Chris Anderson gives an affirming wink.

Innuendo aside, Chang said he expected 3D Robotics’ main customers to be on the large and commercial end of the spectrum, because of the company’s unique expertise in software to make the drones autonomous. But he also said to look for the company to launch cheaper models for consumers in the coming weeks.

Chang, who is also an investor in the Ouya game console and the Basis watch, added that his larger insight on the “Internet of Things” is to think of the space as “the device as a service.” He explained, “While there’s a hardware component, a lot of the breakthroughs are in the cloud-connected software and services side.”

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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald