ZURICH--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Verity Studios AG, the global leader in indoor drone technology, announced today that it has raised $18 million in a Series A funding round, making Verity the world’s most well-funded company in the rapidly emerging commercial indoor drone market. Fontinalis Partners, a venture capital firm focused on next-generation mobility technologies, led the round. Other investors include Airbus Ventures, Sony Innovation Fund, and Kitty Hawk. Verity plans to use this funding to expand its live events business, with a heavy focus on US growth, as well as to expand into other commercial verticals.
“Verity has assembled an exceptional team, with credibility, valuable IP, and extensive technical know-how, all while building a fast-growing business in the live events market,” said Chris Cheever, co-founder and partner at Fontinalis. “Our firm was founded to invest in and help scale the world’s best mobility technologies, and what Verity has developed has broad applicability beyond entertainment, in the drone industry and in many commercial contexts.” As part of the financing, Chris Cheever will be joining Verity’s board of directors to support its expansion.
Founded in 2014, Verity was the first company to bring autonomous indoor drones to live events. Founder Raffaello D’Andrea, a leading robotics and AI expert, was a co-founder of Kiva Systems, which was acquired by Amazon in 2012 and is now operating as Amazon Robotics. “We worked hard to identify the right investors who share our vision for Verity. We are thrilled to work with our new investment team to accelerate our growth and expand operations,” said D’Andrea. “We will continue to deliver cutting-edge robotics and AI to live events to create new forms of expression, while pioneering new live event technology.”
Thrilling audiences in more than 20 countries with their drone shows, Verity pushes the boundaries of what’s possible in the design and creation of drone technology as a new creative medium. In the four years since its inception, the company’s autonomous drone swarms have been used by entertainment providers such as Cirque du Soleil, Madison Square Garden, Princess Cruises, and even renowned rock band, Metallica.
Using proprietary algorithms and system architectures, Verity’s products offer unrivalled safety and reliability within a sophisticated system that can be operated by ordinary client staff. Verity has consistently overcome no-drone restrictions, including in airports, sports arenas, and cruise ships. It also has one of the largest autonomous flight datasets and a growing IP portfolio, including 33 patent applications, with six already granted in the US and internationally.
In addition to expanding its market leadership in live events and presence in new verticals, Verity will work with drone manufacturers to incorporate its proven drone failsafe technology into their platforms to significantly increase the robustness and reliability of today’s drones.
“I am excited to be involved in Verity, a true pioneer in the drone industry,” commented Sebastian Thrun, CEO of Kitty Hawk and co-founder of Udacity, Google X and Google’s self-driving car team. “I’ve seen the Verity team go from strength to strength and I look forward to being part of its future growth.” Sebastian Thrun will also contribute his significant expertise as a member of Verity’s board of directors.
To learn more about Verity and view video demonstrations, visit www.veritystudios.com.
“After the first night, James Hetfield walked over to a microphone and announced to the audience how cool the show had been because of Verity’s drones,” said Dan Braun, show director for the band Metallica. “It’s magnificent what they are doing, whether you see it live or on social media. The programmers of the drones do a great job.”
“The failsafe technologies developed by Verity’s exceptional team were the main trigger for our investment,” said Matthieu Repellin, investment partner, Airbus Ventures. “We are delighted and determined to support Verity in making this technology widely available.”
“Cirque du Soleil’s objective is always to surprise and amaze its audience, and the Verity flying machines are unquestionably one of the most important statements of the Paramour show,” said Jean-Francois Bouchard, Chief Creative Officer of Cirque du Soleil. “When we saw the drones in a dramatic performance, the choice was simple. The Verity team was highly effective in transforming our creative vision into a spectacular flying choreography. The audience was mesmerized by the stunning visual quality of the performance. It creates moments of pure magic where you’re not sure if what you’re seeing is possible.”
“Entertainment is a large field, and there is much to do in this sector. Where entertainment meets technology is a very important area for Sony, and we invested because we found Verity’s vision, team and execution to be of exceptional quality,” said Gen Tsuchikawa, Chief Investment Manager at Sony Innovation Fund.
ABOUT VERITY STUDIOS
Verity Studios is the global leader in indoor drone systems, and a leading provider of drone failsafe technology. Verity delivers indoor drone shows to the live event industry, working with clients that include Metallica, Madison Square Garden, and Cirque du Soleil. Its clients have completed more than 30,000 autonomous flights safely above people, across 20 countries worldwide. The Zurich-based private company was spun off from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich) in 2014. Its founder Raffaello D'Andrea has more than 20 years of experience in the creation of flying machines and autonomous robots. He was also a co-founder of Boston-based Kiva Systems, which was acquired by Amazon in 2012 and is now operating as Amazon Robotics. More information is available at www.veritystudios.com.
ABOUT FONTINALIS PARTNERS
Fontinalis Partners, with offices in Detroit and Boston, is a venture capital firm strategically focused on next-generation mobility. The firm was founded in 2009 by Bill Ford, Ralph Booth, Chris Cheever, Chris Thomas, and Mark Schulz. Fontinalis invests across all facets of the world’s mobility systems on a stage and size-agnostic basis. More information is available at www.fontinalis.com.
ABOUT AIRBUS VENTURES
Airbus Ventures is an early stage venture capital group investing in disruptive and innovative technologies that will set the course for ground-breaking innovation in mobility, security, and the future of flight. Airbus Ventures is the venture arm of Airbus, the European multinational aerospace and defense corporation. More information is available at www.airbusventures.vc.
ABOUT SONY INNOVATION FUND
Sony Innovation Fund is dedicated to engaging with innovative early-stage startups to help fuel the development of disruptive technologies and the launch of new businesses. Beyond investment, its mission is to provide startups access to Sony and its worldwide network, advise startups to help them grow and collaborate with them to achieve success. More information is available at www.sonyinnovationfund.com.
ABOUT KITTY HAWK
Kitty Hawk is a startup that builds eVTOL vehicles and transportation services. Its mission is to free the world of traffic, by transitioning everyday travel into the air. More information is available at www.kittyhawk.aero.