Chinese drone maker SZ DJI Technology Co. secured a this week that values the company at roughly $8 billion, according to people familiar with the situation, propelling the firm into an exclusive club of startups and signalling Silicon Valley’s high hopes for the commercial promise of flying robots.
Venture-capital firm Accel Partners said its $75 million investment in SZ DJI Technology is one of its largest ever.
“We think [the drone sector] is still an early market, but one that we think is a new global technology category,” said Sameer Gandhi, who led the investment for Accel, based in Palo Alto, Calif. “This is the company we believe is going to be the leader in that category.”
The Accel deal flows out of broader DJI fundraising talks reported last month by The Wall Street Journal that could ultimately value the drone maker at around $10 billion. Those talks continue with other potential investors, according to one of the people familiar with the situation.
DJI says venture firm Sequoia Capital already is an investor.
DJI, based in Shenzhen, China, has quickly become the world’s top consumer drone maker by revenue, expecting to exceed $1 billion in sales this year, compared with $130 million in 2013, according to people familiar with its finances.
Frank Wang, chief executive of DJI, founded the company in his Hong Kong dorm room in 2006. Seven years later, DJI released the Phantom, a 2.8-pound drone that is easy to fly and shoots high-definition footage.
Photo: Frank Wang Tao – David Hartung for Forbes
Source: Wall Street Journal