5 SoCal Drone Companies Maturing UAV Technology

Lawren Henderson
Staff Writer at Cluster

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Get to know these 5 drone companies in Los Angeles and SoCal hard at work maturing technologies and solutions that support the growing unmanned aerial vehicle industry.


Santa Monica, CA

Founded 2014

AirMap is a digital airspace platform that allows drone operators to better navigate the skies using aerial maps and communicate with air traffic controllers to safely, responsibly and legally pilot their drones. The company has upwards of a hundred employees and raised a total of $43.6M over three funding rounds with $26 million in its Series B alone. Microsoft Venture serves as lead among 17 investors.


Santa Monica, CA

Founded in 2014

If you’ve ever wanted aerial imagery of your real estate property or work site then you’ve come to the right place. DroneBase operates a global network of professional UAV pilots who provide drone-captured photography and videography services largely to AEC, insurance, news & broadcast, infrastructure, and other industrial clients. The company counts approximately 100 employees and has raised $19 million in capital over five funding rounds. In April, it announced that FLIR Systems had made a strategic investment.

General Atomics

San Diego, CA 

Founded in 1955

A pioneer in unmanned aerial vehicles, General Atomics has been around for over 60 years with operations that now span the globe. Headquartered in San Diego, it's no surprise that the company primarily serves the defense industry. You know the military’s Predator attack drone, the one that launches Hellfire missiles and is featured in every action movie post 2005? Yeah, General Atomics makes those. The company has over 5,000 employees on its payroll and rakes in an estimated $798.2M in revenue annually.


San Diego, CA

Founded in 2013

Quick – which industry is fast becoming one of the leading adopters of drone solutions? If you somehow guessed agriculture then you win ten house points. Founded by engineers Mike Milton and Mike Ritter who got their start in the surveillance drone department at General Atomics, SlantRange develops drone sensor technologies for aerial crop measurement to lower farms’ operating costs and produce more efficient, predictable, and sustainable food supplies. The company raised $5M in its Series A backed by lead investor The Investor Group, and has between 11 and 50 employees.

WhiteFox Defense Technologies

San Luis Obispo, CA

Founded in 2015

As civilian drone use increases so does the potential for danger – collisions with airplanes, crashing at public events, hitting power lines. It sounds unsettling, but WhiteFox offers a defensive solution that detects, identifies, and mitigates the threat by commandeering the drone & locking out the original pilot. To further its mission in creating safer airspace, the company has raised $14.2 million over 3 funding rounds and counts roughly 20 employees.

Interested in other industrial tech companies making waves in Los Angeles and Southern California? Check out 5 SoCal Startups Reimagining Transportation.

And if you're a top-tier engineer looking to join an innovative company creating the future, sign up for your (always) free Cluster account. We'll get you hired.

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Published on
September 8, 2019