An Austin startup wants to use drones to do everything from inspecting thousands of houses after a hail storm to monitoring long-term construction projects.
Now, Hangar has raised $6.5 million to ramp up software development and pursue new customers.
Founded earlier this year, Hangar uses a combination of software and drone technology to provide aerial data for customers in industries including insurance, real estate, architecture, engineering and construction.
Hangar has performed over 1,000 drone tests in Austin for a handful of test customers, said Colin Guinn, a drone industry veteran and Hanger founder. The company is preparing to go nationwide early next year.
"I've watched drone technology advance at a breakneck pace," Guinn said. "They are now consumer friendly products that have multiple computers, 4k cameras, video links and sensors, and cost less than $1,000. We think there's a huge opportunity in harnessing this technology."
Guinn previously chief revenue officer at 3D Robotics, an Austin-based maker of drones and drone technology for commercial and recreational use. Prior to that, he was CEO of DJI North America, a global seller of unmanned aerial vehicles.
Guinn co-founded Hangar with Jeffrey DeCoux, founder and CEO of eCustomers and Smart Technologies.
Hangar, which has 30 employees, hopes to play a role in fostering Austin's growing drone technology industry, Guinn said.
"We're seeing more and more drone companies in the Austin market, and we're working on starting a drone innovation hub," he said. "We are talking about bringing in a number of other drone companies. We really want to make Austin a hotbed for drone technology in North America."
Because drone hardware is now so affordable, the biggest business opportunities lie in creating high-end software applications that leverage the drones' capabilities, Guinn said.
Last year, Austin-based drone company HUVRData raised $2 million to launch its services, which help wind farm owners record and analyze data at industrial sites.
The company's first customers are wind farms, which use its drones to perform regular turbine assessments to identify and diagnose damages such as cracks, lightning strikes or heat fatigue on high-temperature components.
Hangar received its funding from lead investor Lux Capital, a New York-based venture capital firm that has invested in a number of satellite, drone and robotics companies. Fontinalis Partners and Haystack Partners also participated.