We’re so proud that in the past month two Lemnos Labs companies announced significant funding events. More interestingly, both came from our ever-growing aerospace portfolio. These fundings, along with other great announcements from this segment, further validate that the future of aerospace is bright. 25% of the Lemnos portfolio is aerospace related, and we’re excited to help accelerate the innovation happening above our heads.
The first funding announcement was from Airware. They raised a $25 million Series B from Kleiner Perkins. Over the past two years venture and overall interest in drones has increased a staggering amount. Jonathan Downey, CEO of Airware, has assembled the best team in the world for drones and is designing the core platform that will power the coming drone revolution. Watching the drone business mature around Airware and others is and will be a fascinating voyage, but we and others strongly believe Airware will be a hub in that revolution.
The second funding announcement was Spire, formerly Nanosatisfi, who raised a $25 million Series A led by RRE. Peter Platzer and team left Lemnos Labs in early 2013 after raising a seed round and since then have launched four cubesats into orbit. They have redefined the cost structure for acquiring novel, global, proprietary data. We can’t wait to see what their customers do with the information coming from the dozens of cubesats to be launched in the coming year. The Spire team’s success is especially poignant for us as they were one of the first companies to graduate from Lemnos, and they influenced our program as much as we hopefully influenced them.
Airware and Spire are proving aerospace companies can be created for a fraction of the time and cost it took existing market players, creating tremendous opportunities and customer value. They do this by focusing on a Minimum Flyable Product (h/t to Amir Hirsch, CEO of Flying Selfie). Spire built and launched their first two cubesats 15 months after the company was founded for less than $1M. To put this in perspective, the F-35 program is approaching its its 20th anniversary ($10’s of billions of dollars later) and the first operational unit isn’t expected until December of next year!
We’re looking forward to continued disruption in the aerospace market, from drones to near space. We expect to make another half dozen investments in these sectors in the coming years, starting with strong entrepreneurs like Peter and Jonathan and their bold plans. If you are an engineer interested in joining the aerospace revolution, check out our portfolio companies’ job listings or send an email with your qualifications to firstname.lastname@example.org