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HomeDronePrecisionHawk, as soon as a drone large, declares chapter

PrecisionHawk, as soon as a drone large, declares chapter


PrecisionHawk, which at one level was one of many greatest drone trade giants isn’t any extra. The corporate, recognized for utilizing drones to seize agricultural information, filed for Chapter 7 chapter in mid-December 2023. Versus a Chapter 11 chapter, Chapter 7 chapter means PrecisionHawk will stop operations. The corporate may also shut down its headquarters in downtown Raleigh, North Carolina.

“The corporate didn’t have enough capital to take care of operations,” Jason Hendren informed the Information & Observer, a newspaper serving the Raleigh, North Carolina space. Hendren is a chapter lawyer in Raleigh who’s representing PrecisionHawk

In line with its chapter filings, the corporate owes $242,667 in unpaid lease on its headquarters. That debt is just a tiny fraction of the $17.5 million value of debt it holds, in keeping with its chapter submitting. The corporate has simply round $3.8 million in belongings, which a court-appointed trustee can be chargeable for utilizing to pay collectors. Although, unsecured collectors ought to anticipate to get nothing out of the submitting,

Many of the firm’s staff have posted “Open to Work” badges on their LinkedIn profiles.

Photograph courtesy of PrecisionHawk

A historical past of PrecisionHawk

It’s been a tumultuous 12 months for the corporate, which at one level was among the many darlings of the drone trade. Based in 2010, it touted purchasers together with 5 of the highest 10 utility firms, the biggest supplier of communications infrastructure in the USA, and the “Massive Six” suppliers of seed and agricultural chemical substances.

Via its historical past. PrecisionHawk made some pivots to its enterprise mannequin. It initially leaned into being a drone producer, earlier than later specializing in drones for distant sensing purposes and information processing. It targeted on enterprise use circumstances corresponding to agriculture, power, photo voltaic, oil & gasoline, and telecom.

And it had scored some sturdy wins, notably when DJI introduced it could drop PrecisionHawk-competitor AirMap and substitute it with PrecisionHawk as its new supplier of airspace information in North America. With that 2018 change, PrecisionHawk grew to become the geofencing know-how supplier behind DJI’s drones. Drone geofencing is a know-how pioneered by DJI that creates a digital “fence” round areas the place it doesn’t need its drones flying, corresponding to close to airports.

It additionally had important authorities affect. For instance, then-CEO Michael Chasen served because the Chairman for the FAA’s Drone Advisory Committee (DAC).

Throughout its Sequence A by E funding rounds, PrecisionHawk raised greater than $136 million. That included $10 million from Intel Capital in it collection B, and a hefty $32 million collection E in 2019. The 12 months prior, it raised an excellent larger $75 million.

However particularly previously 12 months, it’s develop into clear that PrecisionHawk was having bother. Most of that new got here to mild shortly after Norway-based UAV inspection and mapping firm Discipline acquired PrecisionHawk in March 2023.

On the time, Discipline noticed the PrecisionHawk acquisition as a possibility to increase to the U.S. market. Discipline said that it could use PrecisionHawk’s synthetic intelligence and drone know-how firm for infrastructure administration with its purchasers, which included a number of Fortune 500 firms. In a March 2023 press launch sharing information of the acquisition, the corporate said that PrecisionHawk would hold its Raleigh headquarters and function beneath the Discipline model by the tip of the 12 months.

As a substitute, Discipline introduced in October 2023 that it could shut the PrecisionHawk workplace in Raleigh, North Carolina.

“We knew it could be a problem to make PrecisionHawk worthwhile within the brief time period,” stated Krister A. Pedersen, who stepped in as interim CEO of Discipline in September 2023 after former CEO Cato Vevatne stepped down. “Regardless of our greatest efforts, we couldn’t flip it round in time, and we now have needed to shut the workplace.”

Discipline’s Explorer UAV. (Photograph courtesy of Discipline)

What’s subsequent for PrecisionHawk and what’s going to fill its void?

As for what’s subsequent for PrecisionHawk, the Assembly of Collectors is ready for Jan. 24, 2024. Discipline Group, which acquired PrecisionHawk, in itself can be beginning considerably anew in 2024. That features new possession after being acquired by present shareholders.

Whereas sure traders will purchase Discipline Group’s conventional enterprise, former Discipline Board Chair Arild Austigard and companions are set to accumulate Discipline Group’s drone exercise. With that main change comes a full refinancing of the enterprise in a brand new firm construction.

Discipline’s UAV division will proceed engaged on unmanned know-how and inspection companies. Although, they may function beneath a brand new entity and a brand new model.

“I’m happy that we now have discovered an answer for Discipline Group the place we are able to take over the possession of the drone actions within the firm,” Austigard stated in a ready assertion. “Using drones is a part of the longer term resolution that each ensures environment friendly options and the environmental challenges we face, and the staff in Discipline Group working within the drone enterprise have what it takes to reach the longer term.”

So far as what different firms may fill the void set by the tip of PrecisionHawk? Different firms that supply related companies to PrecisionHawk embody San Francisco-based DroneDeploy, which builds software program to automate flight and information seize. With DroneDeploy, customers generate interactive maps, orthomosaics and 3D fashions.

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