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In a recent development, Avular, a Dutch-drone startup raised €1.5M ($1.8 million) in new funding from Lumipol Holding, a parent organization of several companies in construction, agriculture, industry, and shipping. Avular also raised €450,000 in 2015 to develop drones for agricultural and inspection purposes.
At first, the funding may appear to be modest as Statista Research estimates commercial drone revenue in Europe from 2015 to 2025 to be €207M. However, Avular that’s been on the market since 2014 is using a variety of tactics to stay relevant in the fragmented drone market and carve out a niche for itself.
Here are the three strategies Avular is pursuing to stay ahead of the competition and to find a niche it can depend upon to scale-up.
#1 Avular is building a modular drone platform instead of a static product
Unlike its Dutch competitor Aerialtronics, Avular is building a modular drone platform. “This year the focus is really on the Aerial Curiosity, a modular drone platform where you can easily connect new sensors and program in a simple way,” said Yuri Steinbuch of Avular in an interview with DroneWatch.
The core components of Aerial Curiosity is a modular platform and a software layer. The modular platform helps quickly assemble the drone for several use cases and in multiple industries.Tthe software layer makes it possible to avoid lengthy development times.
It implies Avular is taking a ‘less risky’ approach just like Microsoft did when it licensed its technology to third parties rather than owning the whole product/experience. The startup may be doing this to avoid a ‘lock-in’ situation when startups determine their potential markets too early and risk failure.
#2 Avular is selling both products and services
“The one-size-fits-all approach to products is changing,” wrote Deloitte, a global strategy consulting firm. In writing this, Deloitte advocates for a platform-like approach where services can also be sold along with the modular product.
This is precisely what Avular is doing as it also sells engineering and prototype services for its drone technology. By providing design, development, assembling and support services, Avular gets closer to its target market. This can help the company understand needs better and also become cash-flow positive from the get-go instead of burning a lot of funding dollars for the product (development & marketing) only.
#3 Avular chose its target markets carefully
Interact Analysis, an international provider of market intelligence to the automation sector recently published a report about Commercial drones or UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles). The report identifies the biggest commercial drone markets in Europe which included construction, media/entertainment, building inspection and public safety.
Avular is in a very good position to target the above-mentioned sectors due to a flexible and modular drone platform. Companies from any industry can use it as per their use case.
It also appears Avular got useful business development lessons as it is an alumni startup of Startupbootcamp, a network of industry-focused startup accelerators. The startup will now use the latest funding to grow its commercial drone business.
For more tech news, visit our recent news coverage about five innovative Dutch tech products and Lightyear’s (a solar car maker) latest funding round of €5M.
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