Skydio

I’m excited to announce today that Andreessen Horowitz is leading a $3M financing of Skydio, a startup developing artificial intelligence systems for drones. The Skydio team is awesomely qualified. They worked on drone vision systems at MIT and then co-founded a drone project at Google[x] called Project Wing. The company’s mission is to create smart drones. As cofounder Adam Bry says:
Drones are poised to have a transformative impact on how we see our world. They’ll enable us to film the best moments of our lives with professional quality cinematography and they’ll also change the way businesses think about monitoring their operations and infrastructure. This grand vision is starting to come into focus, but existing products are blind to the world around them. As a consequence, drones must fly high above the nearest structures or receive the constant attention of an expert operator. “Flyaways” and crashes abound.
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Soylent

I was chatting with John Borthwick a few years ago and he said something that struck me. He said he was interested in companies that appear to be focused on selling X but are really online communities that happen to make money selling X. This helps explain why many investors are confused by the sustained success of these companies. One example he cited was GoPro. Many investors decided not to invest in GoPro because they saw it as a camera company, and camera companies generally get quickly commoditized. However, investors who properly understood GoPro saw it primarily as a highly engaged community of sports enthusiasts, something that is very hard for competitors to replicate. Shortly after that conversation I got an email from Jordan Cooper about a company he was investing in called Soylent that was taking an open-sourced approach to developing science-based food products. “The community and engagement around
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