Sep 6, 2017

Drone-as-a-service startup gets backing from Penny Pritzker

Measure

Measure, a drone-as-a-service startup that raised $15 million in Series B funding earlier this year, later today will announce a round extension led by PSP Growth. It also will say that PSP boss Penny Pritzker is joining its board of directors, making it the first corporate board she has formally joined since returning to the private sector after having served as U.S. Commerce Secretary.

  • Why it matters: Measure drones were in the Texas air during Hurricane Harvey, providing aerial shots for Fox News and doing tower inspections for companies like AT&T and Verizon.
  • Related: The WSJ has more on how drones are being used in Harvey recovery efforts.
  • Biz model: Measure basically provides a fleet of drones and full-time drone pilots (mostly military vets), and has begun to productize its service beyond just providing pretty pictures. For example, the company offers a solar farm solution whereby its drones can identify dead panels from the air. It also provides an inspection service for wind turbines, where it detects blade cracks, and the aforementioned telecom tower sight audits that can provide information of the status of antennas. Overall, Measure has around 25 applications for the energy, construction, telecom and media sector.

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Supreme Court to hear Philadelphia case over same-sex foster parents

Photo: Daniel Slim/AFP via Getty Images

The Supreme Court agreed Monday to hear a high-profile case that could reshape the bounds of First Amendment protections for religion.

Why it matters: The direct question in this case is whether Philadelphia had the right to cancel a contract with an adoption agency that refused to place foster children with same-sex couples. It also poses bigger questions that could lead the court to overturn a key precedent and carve out new protections for religious organizations.

Why Apple may move to open iOS

Photo illustration: Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Apple may finally allow iPhone owners to set email or browsing apps other than Apple's own as their preferred defaults, according to a Bloomberg report from last week.

The big picture: Customers have long clamored for the ability to choose their preferred apps, and now Apple, like other big tech companies, finds itself under increased scrutiny over anything perceived as anticompetitive.