UVify Bets On Drone Racing Becoming The New NASCAR
San Francisco startup UVify says it is capitalizing on “the next big thing” in sports: drone racing.
“It marks a cultural shift to tech-driven entertainment and competitive sports,” said Robert Cheek, the company’s head of business development.
UVify has several models of its Draco drones: Draco Research, which is sold to universities, governments and corporations; and for consumers, the Draco and Draco HD, zippy little drones that can reach up to 100 mph.
Drone racing is quickly moving from a niche sport to a serious business that has caught the attention of ESPN and extreme-sports brand Red Bull. ESPN signed a broadcast deal with the International Drone Racing Association last year to showcase a series of racing events. Red Bull recently held its first drone-racing tournament in Austria, which UVify employees attended. Companies and celebrities have poured money into the field, with hopes of it becoming a NASCAR in the sky.
There are still some technical challenges facing the industry: battery life, video quality and high prices. The Draco sells for $699, the HD model for $799, and Draco Research costs $4,999, Cheek said.
UVify, which has $5 million in funding and nine employees, garnered extra attention on startup database Crunchbase this week because it began selling its racing models commercially. The Draco HD is already sold out.
Cheek said the drones helped film an action scene for a show set to air by the end of the year. Continue reading about Drones vs. NASCAR.
Source: SF Chronicle