MMC makes largest European drone investment into Sky Futures
Sky-Futures, the leading provider of drone inspection services for the oil and gas industry, has raised £2.5m from award-winning venture capital fund, MMC Ventures.
CloudOrigin once again performed IT and Operational Due Diligence for MMC Ventures, led by Chief Executive Richard Hall.
The Series A investment – the largest ever into drone technology in Europe – comes after a year of significant expansion for the business, growing by 700% in FY2014. This investment will enable Sky-Futures to continue its rapid growth and continue building out its integrated technology inspection platform.
Simon Menashy, Investment Director at MMC Ventures, commented:
“Cloud Origin worked with us to assess Sky-Futures’ technology capability and roadmap. Richard was able to quickly form a view on the key issues, identify areas of concern and provide pragmatic, actionable advice around platform architecture, design choices and the shape of the team. It’s always a pleasure to work with Richard and once again CloudOrigin’s work was a valuable part of our due diligence.”
Founded in 2009, Sky-Futures is the world leader in oil and gas drone inspections, working with more than 30 of the biggest oil and gas companies in the world including Apache, BG Group, BP, ConocoPhillips, Shell and Statoil. The drones collect high definition video, stills and thermal imagery data, which is analysed in a proprietary data platform and delivered to the client as a technical report. Each part of this process is overseen by Sky-Futures’ highly qualified, in-house team of global industry experts in flare systems and structural engineering.
Sky-Futures now delivers drone inspection services in the North Sea, the Middle East, South East Asia and North Africa, and has recently opened an office in Houston, Texas to serve clients in the Gulf of Mexico, having been one of the first companies to receive FAA regulatory approval to operate in the US.
This investment follows two significant seed rounds, which included prominent angel investors Nick Robertson (CEO of ASOS) and Jon Kamaluddin (former International Director of ASOS).
James Harrison, co-founder and CEO of Sky-Futures, said: “We have experienced a fantastic level of growth in the past year, expanding our global reach and further establishing ourselves as the world leaders in oil and gas drone inspection. We recently received the permit to use our drones in United States National Air Space, an incredibly significant development, allowing us to further expand our international operations footprint.”
“Today’s funding announcement marks the next stage for Sky-Futures, and we are looking forward to working with the MMC Ventures team as we further develop our technology-driven commercial drone services.”
Simon Menashy added: “Drone technology is an exciting area of innovation, but it’s only now that we are seeing leading commercial operators emerge. Sky-Futures’ use of drone technology in the oil and gas market is world-leading and changes the game for platform operators in terms of cost, safety and depth of data analysis. We’re excited to work with an exceptional trio of founders in James, Chris and Nick, and look forward to helping the team to take the business to the next level of global scale.”
About MMC Ventures
Founded in 2000, MMC Ventures is an active investor and award-winning venture capital fund, focused on technology-enabled sectors where the UK is a world leader – particularly financial and business services, business software, digital media and e-commerce. With over £125 million under management, and investing circa £20 million annually, MMC was ranked as one of most active early-stage UK investors for 2012, 2013 and 2014.