Billionaire entrepreneur and Virgin Group founder Richard Branson just made it official on Monday that he became the latest investor in 3D Robotics, a commercial drone company founded by ex-Wired Magazine chief editor Chris Anderson.
The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Branson is pretty well-known for his affinity for flying machines. But with today’s investment, he hopes more people will be able to enjoy the benefits of commercial drones.
“It’s amazing to see what a little flying object with a GoPro attached can do. Before they came along the alternative was an expensive helicopter and crew,” Branson said in a statement. “I’m really excited about the potential 3D Robotics sees in drones. They can do a lot of good in the world, and I hope this affordable technology will give many more people the chance to see our beautiful planet from such a powerful perspective.”
Branson explained more about his investment in a blog post last week, where he said drones could be used not just in military settings, but also to “monitor endangered species, deliver healthcare to remote areas, and help manage natural disasters.”
Anderson founded 3D Robotics in 2009. With over $30 million in funding, its goal is to make drones easier to use and more affordable for the mass public. For example, its flagship product IRIS+ is now sold for as low as $US750. And like Branson explained, users can attach a GoPro camera to its drones to film themselves.
3D Robotics also made some updates to the IRIS+ today, allowing the user to control drones with the smartwatch wearable technology. Branson shows how its used in the video below: