Verizon Acquires Drone Management Specialist Skyward
Wireless network provider aims to simplify operations
Skyward, a specialist in drone operations and management has been acquired by Verizon. The purchase is a part of Verizon’s strategy to drive innovation and adoption for IoT services in high-growth markets. Terms of the transaction have not been disclosed.
"Drones are becoming an essential tool for improving business processes at large companies, but scalability has been a challenge,” says Skyward founder and CEO Jonathan Evans. “Skyward's drone operations management platform combined with Verizon's network, reliability, scale and expertise in delivering enterprise solutions will allow organizations to efficiently and safely scale drones across multiple divisions and hundreds of use cases."
Internationally, companies rely on Skyward for managing operations, improving safety and lowering operating costs. Through this acquisition, businesses will have a single source for integrating, managing and wirelessly connecting their drone operations. The acquisition aims to link all the people, projects and equipment involved into one clear and efficient workflow.
“Last quarter we announced our strategy to drive innovation and widespread adoption for in-flight wireless connectivity through our Airborne LTE Operations (ALO) initiative, a new service to simplify certification and connectivity of wireless drones,” says Mike Lanman, senior vice president of Enterprise Products and IoT at Verizon. "This acquisition is a natural progression of our core focus on operating in innovative, high-growth markets, leveraging our network, scale, fleet management, device management, data analytics and security enablement capabilities and services to simplify the drone industry and help support the adoption of IoT."
With Skyward's technology, Verizon will streamline the management of drone operations through one platform designed to handle end-to-end activities such as mission planning, complex workflow, FAA compliance support, supplying information about restricted airspace and pilot credentialing, drone registration, and provisioning rate plans for drones on Verizon's network. All of this is designed to help developers and businesses create and manage a wide range of services backed by Verizon's mobile private network, secure cloud interconnect and data analytics capabilities.
Verizon Ventures brought Skyward in as a portfolio company and was the first wireless service provider to become a member of the Small UAV Coalition (SUAVC). The acquisition of Skyward speaks to Verizon's strategy to operate in innovative, high-growth markets leveraging core assets to help accelerate IoT adoption. In 2016, revenue from Verizon’s Internet of things business grew 35 percent, totaling $964 million.
In connection with the transaction, GCA Advisors LLC acted as financial advisor to Skyward, and Perkins Coie LLP acted as legal advisor.
Verizon Communications Inc., headquartered in New York City, has a workforce of 160,900 and generated nearly $126 billion in 2016 revenues. Verizon operates a wireless network, with 114.2 million retail connections nationwide. The company also provides communications and entertainment services over mobile broadband and an all-fiber network, and delivers integrated business solutions to customers worldwide.
Skyward is an operations management solution for commercial drone businesses. Skyward helps companies save time and scale faster by connecting all of the people projects and equipment in a drone program into one efficient workflow. Headquartered in Portland, Ore., the company was founded by career pilots and computer science experts with a mission to ensure that the standards of safety and professionalism are carried into this new era of aviation.