2019 Drone Investments Break New Records – Who Were the Major Winners?

Rounding off another fiscal year, we bring you the key trends and developments in drone investments in 2019.
1. Another Year, Another Record – Drone Investments in 2019 2019 was a record-breaking year in many ways. The total yearly investment value not only broke last year's record but also surpassed the billion mark, as $1.2 billion was invested into the drone industry in 2019. As our graphic shows, venture capital (VC) investments once again made up a large portion of this sum. And indeed VC deals also broke the record in 2019, with $830 million invested, up from $679 million in 2018. Finally, eleven years since our first recorded drone industry investment, we can now say that a whopping $4.443 billion has been invested into the drone market.

2020 Outlook: As the market continues to grow, we expect 2020 to be yet another record-breaking year, with both overall and VC deals reaching new highs. We also expect to see the continued trend not the number of investment deals growing drastically but the value of each investment instead.


2. Passenger Drone Companies Are Cashing In If there were to be an obvious "winner" according to investment figures of 2019, it would be the passenger drone companies. In order to showcase the vast differences in cash injections into different sectors of the drone industry, this year we split it four ways into: drone, passenger drone, counter-drone and UTM companies. These four sectors are currently in vastly different maturity stages, as well as at different points in the Gartner Hype Cycle and likely to experience very different technological and regulatory hurdles.
Undoubtedly, as carriers of humans, passenger drones are and will continue to be subject to the very strictest certification and regulation requirements as well as the highest technological hurdles. It is precisely because of this that companies are still in the R&D and prototype manufacturing stage, the one which requires the most money. Combine that with the hype around Urban Air Mobility (UAM), and unsurprisingly passenger drone companies are cashing in more than all the UTM and counter-drone companies combined!


2020 Outlook: This sector will become increasingly popular not only in terms of the rising number of passenger drone concepts, but also government funding for smart city and UAM initiatives, and the plethora of conferences devoted to the topic. For this reason, we are likely to see passenger drone companies scooping a large portion of the cash again in the coming year. In fact, Joby Aviation alone with their $590 million Series C round in January 2020 has already broken records and is likely to make up a large part of the total of 2020 investments.



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