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Verizon just acquired a drone company

The telecom giant announced last year that it would start providing data plans for drones, too.

Drone in Flight Bruce Bennett / Getty Images

Verizon announced this morning that it has acquired a drone services company, Skyward, based out of Portland, Ore.

Skyward makes a drone management platform to help industries that use drones to plan their flights, avoid restricted airspace, register aircraft with the FAA and, importantly, help drones connect to data services networks like, say, Verizon’s. Skyward employs 28 people.

Drones are, after all, flying computers that connect to the internet — connectivity on a drone is often used to share flight information with other drones, report to air traffic control or send aerial imaging back in real time to the operator.

Verizon did not disclose the terms of the deal, but the telecom giant did invest in Skyward in 2015 as part of a round that raised a total of $4.1 million for the company. Other investors in that round included Draper Associates, Voyager Capital, Norwest Venture Partners, Founders’ Co-­op and Techstars Venture. Verizon’s contribution was not disclosed.

In October of last year, Verizon announced that it would start providing wireless data plans for drones, which will start at $25 a month for one gigabyte of data or $80 a month for 10GB, a company spokesperson told Recode.

Verizon Ventures also invested in PrecisionHawk, a drone aerial data analysis company in 2016.

Update: This story has been updated to reflect Verizon's drone data pricing plans from a company spokesperson.

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