3DR Site Scan, my precious baby that I have had the pleasure of watching grow up, has been dancing in and out of the news since launch. I picked out some of my favorite pieces to share below.
On June 15th, Autodesk announced an investment in 3DR to support the continued development of Site Scan. The Wall Street Journal, TechCrunch, TheStreet, and many others picked up the story, pointing to the excitement behind the 3DR/Autodesk partnership. The WSJ article is pasted below for those who don’t have access.
The Wall Street Journal, Patience Haggin, June 15, 2016
Autodesk Inc. has backed drone maker 3D Robotics, manufacturing platform MakeTime and internet of things software platform Seebo out of its Forge Fund.
Autodesk’s $100 million Forge Fund, announced in December, backs startups developing products on Autodesk’s Forge software platform, a set of cloud services for design and engineering. These three investments are the only three deals the fund has completed so far, said Amar Hanspal, Autodesk’s senior vice president for products.
Autodesk contributed to a $26 million round of convertible debt that drone maker 3D Robotics announced last week. The Berkeley-based company plans to raise a $45 million bridge financing in debt that will convert when the company raises its next round, 3D Robotics Chief Executive Chris Anderson said.
3D Robotics, backed by Foundry Group and Qualcomm Ventures, is in the midst of a pivot from consumer drones to enterprise, Chief Executive Chris Anderson said.
“It was always the plan to move to enterprise. We just thought we’d have two years to do it, instead of six months,” Mr. Anderson said. He said the company accelerated its move into enterprise drones as it has seen prices in the consumer drone sector plummet 70 % in the course of nine months.
Through the Forge Fund, Autodesk has invested in MakeTime, an online manufacturing service that Mr. Hanspal described as the “the Airbnb for manufacturing.” The Lexington, Ky.-based company last raised funding in April, with an $8.25 million round led by Foundry Group.
Autodesk has also invested in Seebo, a software-as-a-service platform for developing connected products. The Tel Aviv, Israel-based company last raised funding in January, with an $8.5 million Series A led by Carmel Ventures.
Mr. Hanspal described Autodesk’s Forge Initiative as “both software and fund,” likening it to Amazon’s voice-controlled personal assistant Alexa and its counterpart $100 million Alexa Fund for startups working on voice technology. He declined to disclose the fund’s average check size or the amounts contributed to MakeTime, Seebo and 3D Robotics.
Forge investments aren’t conditional on the portfolio companies continuing to use the Forge platform, Mr. Hanspal said. No representatives of Autodesk have joined the boards of MakeTime, Seebo or 3D Robotics.
Autodesk also announced a number of updates to the Forge platform Wednesday, including a new viewer, a new authentication system and several new applied programming interfaces.
On July 6th, ESRI announced its own partnership with 3DR to coincide with the launch of Drone2Map, a Pix4D-based photogrammetry package that pushes processed orthomosaics to ArcGIS Online. GPS World Magazine wrote a nice piece on our integration.
Several weeks later I had the opportunity to chat with UAS Magazine Managing Editor Luke Geiver, who turned our interview into a nice profile of 3DR’s enterprise and Site Scan strategy. In an lovely twist of fate, Luke’s article was also picked up by Yahoo! Tech and Digital Trends.
These external pieces were nicely complemented by our first customer success story, highlighting the one and only Quentin Wheeler, and our first webinar with the Autodesk ReCap team. If you want to hear me drone on (ha!) about some nice reality capture workflows using ReCap and ReMake, you can watch the webinar in its entirety below. Cut me some slack in the first ten minutes, however. We forgot to start recording and I had to repeat the first few slides. It is so much more difficult to deliver a smooth webinar when you know nobody is listening.