Saildrone Closes Series C Funding to Advance Ocean Data Systems

Uncrewed surface vehicle provider Saildrone plans to use the financing to scale its operations to meet growing demand for ocean data.


A Saildrone USV passes the NOAA research vessel Reuben Lasker under the Golden Gate Bridge.

Saildrone Inc., which provides ocean data, mapping, and maritime intelligence systems and services, today announced the close of its $100 million Series C round, bringing its total funding to $190 million.

Founded in 2012, the Alameda, Calif.-based company said its mission is to sustainably explore, map, and monitor the ocean to understand, protect, and preserve the world. Saildrone said its uncrewed surface vehicles (USVs) include advanced sensors and embedded artificial intelligence to to deliver critical insights from any ocean, at any time of year.

The American-owned and operated company added that its USVs are predominantly powered by renewable wind and solar power, resulting in a minimal carbon footprint.

Saildrone USVs cross oceans for data

Saildrone said its products are based on data collected from its fleet of USVs. It claimed that they are the most reliable autonomous vehicles on the planet, sailing over 500,000 nautical miles and clocking more than 15,000 days at sea in some of the harshest conditions on the planet.

“From the ice edge in the high Arctic to the inhospitable Southern Ocean, Saildrone USVs have proven their exceptional endurance and ability to collect rich, high-precision data,” said the company.

Earlier this month, a Saildrone USV navigated to the heart of Hurricane Sam, taking scientific measurements and high-definition video. The company said the mission was a world first and could help transform scientists' understanding of hurricane forecasting.

Saildrone has two base vehicles, now in their fifth and sixth generations. The Saildrone Explorer is 7 m (23 ft.) long, with a 4.5 m (15 ft.) tall wing, and its keel draws 1.8 m (6 ft.). The Saildrone Surveyor has a 22 m (72 ft.) hull, a 18 m (59 ft) wing, and a draft of 4 m (13 ft.). They are designed for missions of up to 12 months and can autonomously navigate within a user-defined safety corridor.

Saildrone offers its USVs for mission as a service (MaaS) and data as a service (DaaS), similar to the robotics-as-a-service (RaaS) business model.

Not only do saildrones collect scientific data for climate intelligence and high-resolution bathymetric mapping of the ocean floor, but they also also use proprietary machine learning to provide marine domain awareness (MDA/ISR) for law enforcement and homeland security applications. These include policing illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing; counter-narcotics operations; and marine sanctuary protection. 

BOND leads investment round

BOND led Saildrone's Series C funding. New investors XN, Standard Investments, Emerson Collective, and Crowley Maritime Corp. also joined the round. In addition, previous investors Capricorn's Technology Impact Fund, Lux Capital, Social Capital, and Tribe Capital participated.

“We are honored to have the BOND team and our new investors join our journey,” stated Richard Jenkins, founder and CEO of Saildrone. “The combination of the most tried and tested autonomous ocean technology with the partnership of some of the most experienced venture capitalists in the world consolidates our industry leadership and enables our rapid growth path to meet the needs of our customers.”

“We're thrilled to partner with Saildrone as they build out the future of maritime intelligence, drawing on their unique technological differentiation and expansive mission history to serve customers across diverse industries,” said Noah Knauf, general partner at BOND. He will join the company's board of directors.

Saildrone said it will use the new financing to grow its data insight teams and scale go-to-market functions to meet the rapidly growing demand for ocean domain intelligence.

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A Saildrone USV passes the NOAA research vessel Reuben Lasker under the Golden Gate Bridge.

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