When we choose to invest in a company, we do so because we believe they are a next-generation company that will change the world.
One of those companies is Edgybees. They recently raised a $9.5 million Series A round, and we are proud to be backing them through the next stages of their successful growth. We join other A-list investors such as 8VC, Seraphim Capital, LG Technology Ventures, Kodem Growth, OurCrowd, Verizon Ventures and more.
Based in Washington, D.C, Edgybees helps businesses, first responders, and military users accurately geotag and augment aerial video streams in real-time. They aim to “save lives through the use of technology—bringing clarity, precision, and speed to mission-critical operations in public safety, defense, critical infrastructure, and commercial sectors.”
Edgybees was founded in 2017 and previously raised a $5.5 million seed round in 2018.
We would like to share why we invested in them, why dual-use companies are important, and why we are excited to see what the future holds for EdgyBees.
A short interview with Refinery Venture Partner and EdgyBees Board Member, Stephen Rodriguez
Edgybees was sourced to us from our Venture Partner, Stephen Rodriguez. Stephen is the founding Partner of One Defense, a next-generation strategic advisory firm that leverages machine learning to identify advanced software and hardware commercial capabilities and accelerate their transition into the defense industrial base.
Here, Stephen expands on what exactly caught our eye about Edgybees.
Why did you want to invest in EdgyBees?
Edgybees is focused on solving one problem, the real-time, accurate representation of data for decision-makers. This is a major issue right now as numerous solutions offer fancy depictions of data, but they are not in real-time and, thus, very difficult to make a timely decision off of. Edgybees solves this exquisitely. Their market traction to date, peerless management team, and dual-use market thesis convinced me (and the Refinery team) that we could be a value-added investor.
What is the advantage of focusing on dual-use companies?
The public sector and the US Government, in particular, can be onerous to deal with. Long sales cycles and unique business requirements tend to ensure that companies gaining traction become myopic in their focus. It also acts as a barrier to keeping compelling, commercial technologies out of opportunities to support the country. Our thesis is to drive growth in the commercial sector as the critical core of the business while seeking non-dilutive funding in the public sector to develop a company’s product roadmap and add vital, credentialing customers such as the CIA, US Special Operations Command, or Air Force Research Lab. When accomplishing these tasks in order, it actually serves as a critical tailwind to commercial growth as well as improving Refinery’s ability to offer value to its investors.
Why is Edgybees important to both the government and to the commercial world?
Edgybees’ superpower is “real-time” data. This is powerful for customers, whether they are American drone pilots needing to make split-second decisions to save lives or insurance estimators who assess damage after a hurricane or a deep freeze. It accomplishes these objectives without having to be heavily modified from customer to customer, making it highly scalable and ultimately very relevant to customers in both the public and private sectors.
A look at Edgybees’ breakthrough solution and future
Edgybees develops augmented reality (AR) technology that can be used on drones and other vehicles designed to help first responders in an emergency. Their solution uses AI, combined with computer vision, multi-sensor data analytics, 3D video generation, satellite-generated geographical positioning imagery, and machine learning algorithms to add graphics and visual data to live-stream videos with the highest levels of precision and speed. With this, emergency workers—defense, public safety, and critical infrastructure teams—get more accurate and real-time views of critical situations and can quickly and safely accomplish lifesaving and high-urgency missions.
In a video interview, CEO and co-founder Adam Kaplan talks about how Edgybees helped firefighters during one of biggest wildlife disasters in history—the 2020 Australia wildfires. “There are huge fires and a lot of manned aircrafts that are unable to fly through the smoke and through the fires, so they are using a lot of unmanned aircrafts like drones. The issue is that they have these live video streams, but they’re unable to realize what they’re looking at. So we take live data and overlay that information in real-time over that video,” he explained.
During the interview, they demonstrate how the technology generates data and graphics and overlays them on live videos. It’s similar to putting graphics on top of a football game on TV, so viewers understand the players’ strategies. Putting data and augmented reality on live drone footage helps first responders see exactly where there are burning buildings, what street and address. It helps them make immediate decisions that can help save people’s lives.
The technology played a key role during Hurricane Irma, which hit South Florida in 2017. “Before our technology came around, they actually had people on the floor in scuba gear trying to identify what streets they were over. So we put the live data on top of streets, and where people were trapped in buildings, and to distress signals, and we were able to help the drone pilots, the command centre, and the people on the ground identify where all this information was on the live imagery. It was actually documented that we helped save a number of lives during Hurricane Irma,” said Kaplan.
Edgybees has come a long way since it was founded. It first started as a gaming company that made an augmented reality game on a consumer drone. After listening to problems that people who worked in public safety were facing, they changed the company from a direct-to-consumer company to one that helps with the business and government side of things.
In this article, Edgybees says that when AI joins forces with drones, it leads to breakthroughs in these sectors:
● Emergency drones
● Military and defense
● Smart cities
● Industrial infrastructure
● Face-recognition and insurance claims processing
● Real-time data.
According to Crowdfund Insider, this new funding will help fuel the expansion of Edgybees’ AR tech into other verticals such as defense, smart cities, automotive, and broadcast media.
Edgybees’ all-star team, and how they do well in managing storms
When we invest in a company, we also consider other things besides the product–we look at the market, as well as the team and their their strategies for success.
Edgybees’ diverse team consists of the best minds in computer vision, artificial Intelligence, real-time video processing, and UX, UI, and integration specialists. The executive team includes Adam Kaplan (Co-founder & CEO), Menashe Haskin (Co-founder & CTO), Nitay Megides (Co-founder & director platform), Trevor Matz (Executive Director) & Hagai Gold (VP Finance).
Nadev Levy, Senior Project Manager at Edgybees, shares some techniques that help the teamwork more efficiently in the company’s high-pressure environment. It starts with understanding each leader’s company vision. Then, they schedule time with each team and start collecting every task, major issues, wish-lists, and features they come across.
They then have a better idea of where they want to be and can create initiatives to take them closer to that vision. They work with computer vision and on the front line of GIS (Graphical Information Systems) and augmented reality and deal with many unknowns. They allocate 30% of their roadmap to research tasks.
3 things that work for Edgybees when managing storms:
1. They keep their roadmap alive and open during every sprint and meeting of the year, rather than looking at it only twice a year and realizing it is not relevant anymore.
2. They maintain a stable core and don’t stop the sprint when a new opportunity arises. They open a side kanban board so they can switch back to it anytime, without losing their rhythm.
3. They plan for the unexpected and always leave 10-20% open the sprint open for surprises.
We at Refinery Ventures are thrilled to invest in Edgybees—it is next-generation technology at its finest. It has proven to save lives, combined with a stellar team with work strategies that help them maximize productivity and get to the company’s vision. We foresee a lot of powerful potential for its future.