An East Falls startup lowkey raised $1 million last fall to make drones more efficient

With drones poised to play a starring role in automating industries like agriculture and construction, the infrastructure that accompanies the flying gizmos needs to be able to keep up.

That’s the driving premise behind Asylon, an East Falls startup working to bring more efficiency to industrial drone operations. The startup, founded in 2015, quietly raised $1 million of “pre-seed” capital last fall to ramp up its operations and push its integrated product, DroneCore, further to market.

“Airlines don’t just own aircraft, they also own about 100 other pieces of support equipment,” said CEO and founder Damon Henry. “We thought drones won’t be the exception and built an infrastructure for drones.”

Last year, we learned of Asylon as the makers of Drone Home, which automated battery replacement through a robotic arm. Now, with DroneCore, the company’s making a more complete sell to customers in the security space, with automated video uploads to the cloud and an artificial intelligence component.

Here’s the company’s sales pitch, in cinematic form:

“Up until now we’ve been focused on the technology,” Henry said. “But now we’ve hit our MVP and made progress last year with driving larger end users, so now we’re deploying funds to scale up operations.”

What’s ultimately helping to make the sale? A promise of 50 minutes on the hour of real-time video surveillance, which Henry says is a better metric than the competition.

Manufacturing of the platform is all done in house, out of an East Falls office where the company’s team of eight is based. By the end of the year the company plans to grow to around 12 staffers.

So, what’s it like to be a drone startup in Philadelphia, a city most often associated with cheesesteaks B2B software companies?

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“I was slightly worried when we started a drone company here,” Henry said. “Obviously Penn has a big presence and although we didn’t know too much, as we built up we realized there’s a dozen different drone or closely related companies in the area. We’ve grown tight and collaborative with each other. Philly is the drone hub that nobody knows, including ourselves sometimes.”

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