Last week Virginia Beach-based DroneUp announced that it would invest $130,000 to expand its headquarters and add 41 new jobs. The web and mobile platform for on-demand drone pilot service has clients in the commercial, government and military sectors. The company, which was founded in 2016, connects drone clients with qualified drone pilots via its Mission Match process, which is available via an app as well as online.
The company manages single-pilot, multi-pilot and large-scale drone pilot deployment services, and it now offers training sessions online as well as prep course and practice exam for free, plus the ability for drone pilots to take part in paid online courses for UAS (Unmanned Aerial Systems) Night Operations and UAS Public COA (Certificate of Authorization) Process (CAPS).
“The soaring success of innovative companies like DroneUp is a reflection of the many competitive advantages available to unmanned systems companies in Virginia,” said the state’s Governor Ralph Northam, via a statement.
“With the second-highest concentration of tech workers in the nation, renowned training programs, and a strong talent pipeline, Virginia is well-suited to be a leader in this skyrocketing industry,” added Northam. “We are thrilled that DroneUp is reinvesting in the Commonwealth and helping to propel the Hampton Roads economy forward.”
The Virginia Economic Development Partnership’s Virginia Jobs Investment Program (VJIP) is supporting DroneUp’s addition of jobs with consulting services as well as with state funding. VEDP worked with the City of Virginia Beach as well as the Hampton Roads Economic Development Alliance to secure the project for Virginia, while VJIP will provide consultative services and funding to companies that create new jobs or experience any technological change including the employee training activities.
“We are honored to be part of the Virginia business community,” said Tom Walker, founder and CEO of DroneUp, via a statement.
“We are sincerely grateful to Governor Northam, the Virginia Economic Development Partnership, the Hampton Roads Economic Development Alliance, and the City of Virginia Beach,” Walker added. “Their support, along with the Virginia Jobs Investment Program, has helped to ensure that we have the resources necessary to maintain our position as an industry leader in the global drone services space.”
This past August, DroneUp announced it had been awarded a state contract to provide drone services to the Old Dominion State’s agencies, universities and other public entities.This was reportedly the first contract of its kind for the industry, and DroneUp has been charged to provide drone solutions for emergency situations, law enforcement support, aerial inspection/mapping data services, agricultural and government media relations and marketing.
Virginia officials said that the primary users would be the Departments of Aviation, Emergency Management, Transportation, Forestry, Mines, Minerals and Energy, and all public universities and community colleges.
In February of this year, the company also announced a partnership with Vintun to provide UAS services to various federal agencies. This partnership allowed DroneUp to utilize Vintun’s variety of services for military and government organizations including the latter’s VDaaS (Vintun Drone-as-a-Service), which allowed DroneUp’s Mission Match platform to locate, qualify and deploy the right drone pilot for the right mission.
Last year DroneUp also partnered with Israeli-based Skywatch.AI to provide on-demand automated flight insurance coverage to Part 107 pilots for commercial missions delivered via the DroneUp app. The liability coverage was offered by DroneUp at no additional charge to its participating pilots.
DroneUp moved its headquarters to Virginia Beach in January, and has begun its construction expansion. The company has also expanded its executive staff.
“DroneUp recently added Chief Revenue Officer Tripp Shannon to the leadership team, and he oversees the sales and marketing efforts,” said DroneUp’s Amy T. Wiegand, marketing and communications director.
“In 2019 DroneUp employed an executive director, operations coordinator, mission coordinator, marketing coordinator and has slated to employ several sales team members by year-end,” Wiegand told ClearanceJobs via an email. “2020 will bring substantial growth to the sales, marketing, app development, and flight operations teams.”