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DroneBase nets $55M for inspections, rebrands as Zeitview

illustration of a drone surrounded by money patterns and circles

Illustration: Tiffany Herring/Axios

DroneBase closed a $55 million Series E round to expand its inspection and analytics service for energy assets and other infrastructure.

Why it matters: Last year marked the first time that renewable energy assets like wind and solar became the majority of the sites that the company inspected.

  • The company inspected nearly one-third of installed solar assets in the U.S., the CEO tells Axios.

What's happening: Valor Equity Partners led the all-equity round.

  • Existing investors Union Square Ventures, Upfront Ventures, Euclidean Capital, Energy Transition Ventures and Hearst Ventures participated.
  • Valor gained a seat on the company's five-member board. It joins existing members Union Square Ventures and Upfront Ventures. The other two seats are held by an independent member and CEO Dan Burton.
  • The round closed in October.

Of note: DroneBase rebranded as Zeitview, which translates from German to "time view."

  • "We’ve proliferated to airplanes, drones, phones," Burton tells Axios. "We’ve outgrown just 'DroneBase.'"

How it works: Zeitview, based in Santa Monica, doesn't build the drones or planes it uses.

  • Instead, it's developed software that uses AI and machine-learning to analyze the millions of images gathered from its inspections.

State of play: Wind and solar farms are inherently decentralized. That makes them expensive to inspect.

  • Zeitview last year inspected about 43 GW of solar. That's roughly 30% of total U.S. solar capacity.
  • The company overflies so much land that it's introducing regional- and national-level surveys of solar assets.

What's next: The capital is funding an expansion of Zeitview's analytics software as well as the company's geographic footprint.

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