I’m excited to announce that Emergence is leading DroneDeploy’s $9 million Series A financing. DroneDeploy is the first cloud-based solution that makes drones easy for anyone to use for commercial purposes.

I’ve been a drone hobbyist for a few years. My first drone, a Parrot AR, was lost in a gust of wind just a couple of days after I bought it. That resulted in my distributing flyers around my neighborhood in an effort to get it back. No such luck, though. I’m guessing it’s still caught in a tree somewhere in Palo Alto.

Despite the fact that this wasn’t a great first experience with a drone, I had caught the drone bug. Last summer, I built a TBS Discovery Pro with my kids. I’m glad to say that despite a few bouts with strong winds, it’s still in my possession. My drone hobby has since been a source of a lot of weekend fun.

My hobby began to merge with the investing world as I started to explore the commercial opportunities associated with drones. To my surprise, as I spoke with people in a broad range of industries, it became clear that drone use was quickly ramping up. Quadcopters and fixed-wings were being used to identify parts of farms in need of water or fertilizer. They were being deployed by mining companies to measure the volume of material being extracted from the ground. And they were being used on construction sites for tracking building progress.

That said, everyone I talked to who was using drones in business had a common complaint: drones were too hard to use. Flying them at the right height and in the right pattern was a challenging manual exercise. Transferring the masses of data from a drone to data processing software was tedious. Further, there was the multi-hour wait required as said software worked its magic and delivered a complete image of a field or a 3D model of a building.

This struck me as a problem aching to be solved by software and the cloud. Enter DroneDeploy. Their offering is a mobile and cloud-based app that enables any business to quickly get value from a drone with a push of a button — and in a matter of minutes instead of hours. We’ve seen at Emergence how important ease-of-use and time-to-value are when it comes to business applications. We believe that these principles will apply equally in the drone market.

DroneDeploy’s vision for an easy-to-use commercial drone app is truly resonating with the market. Major companies are using DroneDeploy-powered drones across a range of industries. Today, they are announcing a partnership with DJI, the world’s largest drone manufacturer. And over the coming months, DroneDeploy will announce several other key partnerships and customers.

I’m excited to partner with Jono, Mike, Nick, Gretchen, and the rest of the DroneDeploy team as they continue to build out the leading cloud solution for the fast-growing commercial drone industry. I’m confident that their amazing technical and drone know-how, combined with Emergence’s proven ability to help accelerate cloud companies’ growth, will be an incredible combination. DroneDeploy, you are cleared for takeoff!