Dotterel Technologies has carved a niche for itself by finding a solution to the often encountered challenge in drone flying – noise!! Dotterel has pioneered innovative noise reduction technology and clean audio recording solutions for drones and has wide commercial applications, including in the security and screen industry sectors.
Now, the NZ Herald reports that the company has announced an oversubscribed capital raising round, the appointment of a new director and a partnership with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The capital raising, led by Sydney‐based venture capitalists and tech start‐up specialists, Jelix Ventures, raised NZ$1.06 million and attracted investors from the US, Australia and New Zealand. Jelix now has an 11.45 per cent stake in Dotterel.
The over-subscription follows an NZ$500,000 funding round last year. Other investors include managers, Sir Stephen Tindall’s K1W1 fund, Crown agency NZVIF, Techstars Australian Defence Accelerator and Auckland University’s commercialisation arm Uniservices (which has also had recent wins with Soul Machines and Power-by-Proxi).
Dotterel has developed a shroud that that dampens noise from a drone’s propellers by diverting noise upward and also contains noise-dampening materials and houses an array of microphones that work with Dotterel software to filter out propeller noise from a recording and also eliminates the risk of injury from their blades. It also makes technology for recording audio via a drone – something that’s ordinarily impossible over the noise generated by the props.
Dotterel now has the movie-making and defense industries in its sights. Co-founder Shaun Edlin says his company’s shroud means a drone causes fewer disturbances on set and is less of a health and safety issue.
The US$70b drone market is pegged to grow to US$100b by 2020. As per Edlin, Dotterel has no direct competitor in its noise-reduction niche – which he says is worth tens of millions a year in the film-making market alone.
Dotterel currently makes its own drones, but its long-term plan is to license its shroud to other drone makers. Having inked a partnership deal with MIT, Dotterel gets free R&D to supplement its in-house efforts while MIT acoustic engineering students get to work on a real-life product. “These are the top students who are turning down opportunities at Lockheed Martin to come and work with us.” Edlin said.
Dotterel has also attracted top executive, angel investor and tech start‐up mentor Ian Davis to serve on its Board as a director. The Board also comprises Dr Sean Simpson, founder of biofuels giant LanzaTech, and Brett O’Riley, former ATEED chief executive. “Having investors such as Jelix and Weekly onboard is great for Dotterel, as it raises our visibility and credibility in the important Australian and US markets,” says Edlin.
Visualizing home deliveries as another target market for Dotterel’s noise-dampening tech, Edlin says enthusiastically, “It’s an exciting time for Dotterel right now as we’re first to market with our noise reduction and safety shroud technology and we aim to enter commercial arrangements with big players in our markets in the next year.”