Aerial data firm backed by Innovate Indiana Fund named top-30 tech pioneer by World Economic Forum

  • July 11, 2016


INDIANAPOLIS -- PrecisionHawk Inc., a drone mapping and aerial data services company that counts the Innovate Indiana Fund as a key financial backer, has been named one of the world's 30 most promising technology pioneers for 2016 by the World Economic Forum.

The 2016 Technology Pioneers list was announced during the group's Annual Meeting of the New Champions in Tianjin, China, which took place June 27-28. The list recognizes early-stage companies whose design, development and deployment of new technologies stand to significantly impact both business and society. Past pioneers include Google Inc. (2002), Mozilla Corp. (2007), the Wikimedia Foundation (2008), Twitter Inc. (2010), Dropbox Inc. (2011), Spotify Ltd. (2011) and Airbnb (2014).

The Innovate Indiana Fund led PrecisionHawk's $1 million round of initial financing and took part in $10 million of Series B funding in 2014. Earlier this year, it joined more than a half-dozen investors in a $20 million Series C capitalization for the company.

Managed by the Indiana University Research and Technology Corp., part of IU's Innovate Indiana initiative, the fund provides early-stage capital to companies with an IU connection. It also advises in such areas as technology assessment, market analysis and planning, management recruitment, product development, sales strategy, customer acquisition, and next-stage capital.

"Throughout our involvement with PrecisionHawk, we've watched not only its aerial platforms and analytical tools evolve in sophistication, but its markets grow increasingly diverse as well," said Ken Green, managing director of the Innovate Indiana Fund. "The recognition PrecisionHawk has received for its innovative potential on a global scale is well-earned, and we are pleased to have played a role in supporting such success."

The forum's list of technology pioneers is chosen by a group of 68 academics, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and business executives who evaluate hundreds of applicants based on product innovation, potential impact, viability, leadership and ability to generate revenue.

Selected companies must have a working prototype on the market or have achieved at least phase II of clinical trials for applicable life science companies. They cannot be a subsidiary or a joint venture, nor can they be a member of the World Economic Forum.

"This class demonstrates how companies can act at the interplay of different technologies," said Fulvia Montresor, the forum's head of technology pioneers. "It also shows how quickly some technologies are evolving and how current innovations start to provide real-world solutions for global challenges."

As a World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer, PrecisionHawk will spend the next two years taking part in activities designed to identify and proactively address future issues of global importance in innovative and entrepreneurial ways, said company spokesperson Lia Reich.

PrecisionHawk was noted by the selection committee for "bringing value to an emerging market" with a solution that gathers, processes and analyzes aerial data that can be used across a wide range of industries including agriculture, insurance, energy and mining.

"We are honored to make the list for 2016 as we work to rapidly integrate drone technology into existing systems and industries around the world," Reich said. "The (forum) activities bring together executives including scientists, academics, NGOs, and leaders of business and governments to shed new light on how technologies may be used to address major global challenges."

PrecisionHawk currently has more than 120 employees, with at least 10 based in Terre Haute, Ind. In 2014, PrecisionHawk won an Indiana Innovation Award and was a finalist for TechPoint's Mira Awards as Tech Startup of the Year. Among other awards, the company was named to TiEcon's list of Top 50 technology startups and recognized as a Top 100 Global Sustainable Solutions company by Sustainia.

About Innovate Indiana

Innovate Indiana engages strategic partners to advance Indiana University's intellectual resources and expertise, enhance Indiana's economy, and improve Hoosiers' quality of life. For more information, follow Innovate Indiana on Twitter.

About PrecisionHawk

PrecisionHawk is a terrestrial data acquisition and analysis company founded in 2010. The company provides an end-to-end solution from unmanned aerial vehicles to data collection and analysis software tools to provide better business intelligence to clients across a wide range of civilian industries. PrecisionHawk also owns UAV data software DataMapper, satellite imagery provider Terraserver, and the Low Altitude Tracking and Airspace Safety platform for UAVs. More information about PrecisionHawk can be found on its website or on Twitter.

PrecisionHawk Inc.'s Lancaster 5 unmanned aerial vehicle

PrecisionHawk Inc.'s Lancaster 5 unmanned aerial vehicle | Photo by PrecisionHawk Inc.

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Bill W. Hornaday