Drone Maker DJI Takes Minority Stake In Iconic Swedish Digital camera Firm Hasselblad
On the heels of a $seventy five million funding from Accel, Chinese language drone king DJI is placing a few of its funding to make use of by making some investments of its personal. The corporate this week introduced that it might be taking a stake in Hasselblad, a digital camera maker from Sweden that focuses (!) on top quality gear, typically utilized in tougher environments. This can be a minority stake and neither firm disclosed the quantity when contacted by TechCrunch. However it’s giant sufficient to provide DJI a seat on Hasselblad’s board of administrators.
The businesses say that whereas they’ll proceed to construct their companies independently of one another, the funding and partnership will even imply that they are going to be engaged on merchandise collectively, with collaborations utilizing DJI’s experience in unmanned flying automobiles, and Hasselblad’s technical imaging know-how, particularly for the skilled market.
“We’re honored to be partnering with DJI, the clear know-how and market chief in its phase,” stated Perry Oosting, Hasselblad’s CEO in a press release. “DJI and Hasselblad are equally obsessed with creativity and excellence, and we’re wanting ahead to sharing technical experience and paving the best way for future improvements.”
“Hasselblad and DJI share a ardour to offer artistic individuals with slicing-edge, creative know-how to assist them take visible storytelling to the subsequent degree,” stated Frank Wang, DJI’s Founder and CEO within the assertion. “With this partnership, we mix our strengths to additional push the borders of what’s potential in imaging know-how.”
That is an fascinating funding for a few causes. On the aspect of DJI, it’s a mark of the corporate’s ambitions to construct out the picture high quality on its drones. DJI was an early mover within the space of drones that has taken a management place throughout shopper, industrial and excessive-finish skilled classes, and it’s already developed imaging know-how as part of that. However it’s arising towards very robust competitors in any respect ranges — for instance from Parrot within the shopper area, and compatriot Yuneec, which additionally raised an enormous spherical this yr backed by Intel.
DJI making strategic investments within the wider ecosystem of elements that (actually and figuratively) make the drone market fly could also be a means of constructing the higher market, however additionally it is a method of locking in the extra promising corporations that work within the area into DJI’s personal ecosystem in a extra direct method, above that of its rivals.
This isn’t the one stake that DJI — which is projected to make $1 billion in gross sales in 2015 — will absorb a 3rd-social gathering enterprise, however it’s the first to be made public. “No different investments for us to announce in the intervening time,” a spokesperson informed me in reply to my query about this.
To be clear, the Canonical partnership additionally introduced this week, which can see a brand new Ubuntu pc referred to as Manifold embedded on to DJI drones, “was purely a partnership based mostly on know-how,” with no monetary stake, the spokesperson says.
However there shall be extra. The corporate partnered with its investor Accel in Might to launch the SkyFund to make investments in unmanned aerial car startups. It’s not clear that Hasselblad is a part of the SkyFund portfolio — the fund and Accel get no point out within the official assertion concerning the funding. So this can be a sign of how DJI will make direct investments of its personal, too.
On the a part of Hasselblad, that is an fascinating deal, in that it’s taking a really legacy participant within the space of imaging and giving it a big leg up into one of many extra chopping-edge areas of images.
It’s additionally an indication of the occasions that Hasselblad is evolving by partnering with an organization from the brand new guard.
Perry Oosting, the corporate’s CEO, tells TechCrunch that that is the primary and solely time that the corporate has taken an outdoor funding since being based in 1941: “No different investments or different strategic partnerships current,” he stated in an emailed response.
The corporate is definitely iconic in its area: it was a Hasselblad digital camera that was used to take the primary footage on the Moon, and its gear additionally been utilized in a variety of different NASA area missions.