Da-Jiang Innovations, better known to most as DJI, is considered to be one of the top consumer drone makers in the world. After raking in $500 million in revenue last year, the company is on path to become the first billion dollar drone builder this year.
Currently, after bootstrapping since its founding in 2006, DJI is looking to secure its venture capital and safeguard from its rival, suggests the report. Companies like 3D Robotics and Parrot collectively raised $108 million last year, based on an analysis by CB Insights.
Looking at the regulatory risk standpoint, the timing is right to invest: In February the Federal Aviation Administration released revised rules for drones that are paving the way for broader adoption. Drone enthusiasts, who had been facing increased pressure from the local law enforcement, welcomed the new regulatory framework with a sigh of relief.
Reports say that the DJI is in talks with venture capital firms regarding a new round of funding. Though the value of the deal has not been finalized yet, looking at the sales one could bet that DJI could be valued at several billion dollars.
DJI, one of the blooming industry’s market leaders, has carved out one of its most lucrative niches, landing it on Fast Company‘s 2014 list of the Most Innovative Companies. Its drones are so user-friendly for they are easy to set up and priced for consumer use—the Phantom, for example, retails for under a thousand bucks—but capable of capturing professional-quality images.
DJI kick-started when founder Frank Wang started the company to build flight control systems for model helicopters. As multi-rotor drones became more popular, however, Wang shifted his focus to cater to the emerging market. He managed to build a company that produced consumer-grade drones for the masses. Before DJI’s Phantom line arrived, most quality drones were sold to hardcore hobbyists and were not exactly what the company expected.
Things have changed a lot after Phantom. Today, DJI employs more than 2,800 employees with offices in HongKong, Kobe, Los Angeles, Rotterdam, Shenzhen and Tokyo. It offers a variety of drones that cater to all sorts of demographics and industries. Outside of hobbyists and casual users, their drones are popular with professional photographers and filmmakers.
“The gap between professional and hobbyist use is really blurring,” Micheal Perry a DJI spokesperson, told last December. He described a farmer who bought a Phantom “for fun,” and then realized after a storm that the drone would be able to quickly assess his property’s damage from above. “The consumer side of it has ended up making it a widely adopted commercial tool.”