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Drone start-up under Techstars Adelaide program secures funding

A New Zealand based start-up, part of the first cohort of the Techstars Adelaide defence accelerator program, has raised $500,000 from strategic investors and is launching a joint venture in South Australia next year.

Dotterel Technologies, which specialises in noise reduction and audio recording technology for drones, closed a funding round with investment from Korean corporate ESV, University of Auckland's Inventors' Fund, the New Zealand Venture Investment Fund, Opal Ventures and Techstars.

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Born out of the Callaghan C-Prize in 2015 and founded by Matt Rowe, Shaun Edlin, Seamus Rowe and Shaun Pentecost, Dotterel Technologies is solely focused on noise reduction and audio enablement in drones. The company specialises in making drones quieter for various commercial uses, including cinematography and defence and security.

Made up of three core technologies – acoustic shrouds, low noise propellers and active audio recording Dotterel said it is well positioned to become a must-have tool for the defence and security sector as it assists with stealth during drone surveying and logistics and enables transmission of audio to communicate with troops and civilians on the ground.

The start-up, headquartered in Auckland, New Zealand, will be launching a joint venture in South Australia with Resonate Consultants, with details to be announced early next year.

"This funding comes at a crucial stage as it will allow us to bring in the talent necessary to develop our products, as well as further extend our patent protection," said Shaun Edlin, Dotterel Technologies chief operating officer.

"Going through Techstars Adelaide defence accelerator program has opened many doors for Dotterel, giving us exposure to high calibre mentors and connections within the global defence sector."

Dotterel Technologies is currently in discussion with lead investors and intends to close a further seed funding round of over NZ$1 million in February. The company is also exploring collaborative projects with large corporate and defence groups in the near future.

"Drones are incredibly loud, and that's an issue for pretty much every commercial and recreational application out there," explained Edlin.

"In security and defence, drones require an element of stealth, whereas in logistics applications noise prevents use in residential areas.

"Legislation for drones and UAVs is changing all over the world and we believe that noise-mitigation will become mandated. As early movers, there’s an opportunity for Dotterel’s technology to become an industry standard on the next generation of drones."

In July, the Techstars Adelaide program selected 10 start-ups, chosen from applications from 49 different countries, which gained access to high profile mentors, the Techstars global network, a newly renovated work space in the Adelaide CBD and a cash investment of up to US$120,000 in their companies.

The companies worked on defence and security related technologies including big data and analytics, sensors, unmanned aerial systems, rocket propulsion, cyber and physical security, and performance improvement.

The start-ups also received guidance and support from corporate partners and global defence sector leaders Boeing, Codan Defence Electronics, SAAB Australia and Thales.

Four of the 10 companies that went through the program were from Adelaide, while one was from Brisbane and another from Melbourne. The 10 companies are:

  • Additive Rocket Corporation; San Diego, USA
  • CRON Systems; New Delhi, India
  • Daitum; Adelaide, Australia
  • Dotterel Technologies; Auckland, New Zealand
  • IR Sensors; Adelaide, Australia
  • Iridium Dynamics; Brisbane, Australia
  • MySky Technologies; Adelaide, Australia
  • NIMIS CyberSecurity; Melbourne, Australia
  • RadioMaze Inc.; Cupertino, USA
  • Teamgage; Adelaide, Australia
Drone start-up under Techstars Adelaide program secures funding
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