DJI Innovations: The Biggest Drone Company in the World
While the technology is not necessarily new, drones or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) such as the one seen below are now starting to enter the mainstream for civilian and commercial users:
While the mention of “drones” conjures images of the U.S. government scouting out terrorists through grainy cameras and shooting rockets at them, drones have started to achieve adoption in the civilian sector due to the increasing sophistication of MEMs devices, the increasing efficiency of lithium batteries, and compact high-resolution cameras like those made by GoPro. Teal Group’s 2014 market study estimates that drone or UAV spending will nearly double over the next decade from current worldwide UAV expenditures of $6.4 billion annually to $11.5 billion, totaling almost $91 billion in the next ten years. With all this growth potential, one private company has managed to capitalize on it and become what is the biggest drone company in the world today claiming to supply 50% of global demand for such vehicles from the commercial and industrial sectors.
Founded in 2006, DJI Innovations is a Chinese company that produces commercial and recreational unmanned aerial systems (UAVs). With $100 million in backing from Accel Partners and Sequoia Capital, DJI has managed to become the biggest drone company in the world. That success has also reaped some serious rewards for the 2 firms that funded DJI. In an earlier article, we talked about “unicorns” and how one other Chinese company, Xiamoi, has managed to reach a valuation of $46 billion dollars or 46 unicorns. DJI now has the second most lofty valuation of “computing hardware” unicorns behind Xiamoi with a valuation today of $10 billion dollars. Since DJI is a private company, information on their financials is nonexistent. However VCs would have insight into those numbers, and the two notable VCs that have backed DJI have assigned a valuation that can only mean one thing. DJI is selling a lot of drones. Not only is DJI selling the drone itself, but they’re also offering a wide range of accessories and add-ons that can be purchased as well:
While you can’t buy stock in DJI Innovations at the moment, you can get yourself a really cool drone at a reasonable price point. The DJI Phantom 3 Standard can be purchased from Drones Etc. for the mere sum of $799:
While an investment in one of these drones just makes sense, you’re probably wondering how you can invest in the drone investment theme today given that DJI Innovations is still private. In a future article, we highlight a publicly traded company that will give you exposure to the camera technology used in DJI drones and in GoPro cameras. This stock may be the best picks-and-shovels play on drones today. We’ll also look to highlight a drone stock that’s well on its way to becoming a pure play which can only be traded overseas but can still be accessed by U.S investors.
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