DroneUp Expands Headquarters-Establishes Dinwiddie County, Virginia, Operation Complex
The company will invest $7 million to expand its headquarters at 160 Newtown Road in Virginia Beach. In addition, DroneUp will invest $20.2 million to establish a new testing, training, and R&D center for drone operators at Richard Bland College in Dinwiddie County.
“The team at DroneUp couldn’t be happier with the support we’ve received from Governor Youngkin's office and the Commonwealth of Virginia as a whole over the years,” said Tom Walker, founder and CEO of DroneUp. “Virginia is our home, and we are proud to be able to continue to bring new innovation, talent, and economic opportunities to our great state. This investment and expansion will not only bring new career opportunities to our region, but also allow us to tap into the brightest minds around Unmanned Aircraft System development and design.”
Governor Youngkin approved a $928,000 grant from the Commonwealth’s Opportunity Fund to assist with the project. The Governor also approved $4 million in funds from the Virginia Economic Development Incentive Grant. The Virginia Economic Development Incentive Grant was established as a self-funded program of performance-based incentives that the Commonwealth awards to exceptional economic development projects with large numbers of employees and very high wages relative to average wages for that particular area.
The Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission also approved a grant for $111,000 from the Tobacco Region Opportunity Fund for the project, and funding and services to support DroneUp’s employee training activities will be provided through the Virginia Jobs Investment Program.
“DroneUp’s expansion in Virginia Beach and new testing, training, and R&D center at Richard Bland College is an exciting step forward for the unmanned systems industry in Virginia and serves as a model for higher education partnerships and economic development,” added Secretary of Commerce and Trade Caren Merrick. “With the second-highest concentration of tech workers in the nation and world-class education institutions, the Commonwealth is well-positioned to empower DroneUp’s continued success.”
DroneUp recently announced a multi-year commercial services agreement with Walmart, Inc. to provide drone delivery services at 34 sites, providing the potential to reach 4 million U.S. households by the end of the year. Walmart has a minority stake in DroneUp and a seat on its board and in turn, the company is the exclusive provider of drone services for Walmart. DroneUp plans to establish three Virginia drone hubs at various Walmart locations this year.
“This exciting announcement is a testament to Virginia’s Gateway Region, a top logistics center in the Commonwealth,” said Keith Boswell, President & CEO of Virginia’s Gateway Region Economic Development Organization. “We look forward to the economic impact this project will bring to our seven communities as individuals and companies travel from near and far to hone their skills in drone technology and delivery.”
The Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP) worked with the City of Virginia Beach, Dinwiddie County, Richard Bland College, and Virginia’s Gateway Region to secure the project for Virginia.
“VIPC's relationship with DroneUp spans several years and multiple pilot programs with our Virginia Unmanned Systems Center and funding opportunities through our Commonwealth Commercialization Fund and Virginia Venture Partners,” said Robert Stolle, President and CEO of the Virginia Innovation Partnership Corporation (VIPC). “They are a shining example of Virginia's willingness to welcome and support innovation and job creation.”
Headquartered in Virginia Beach, DroneUp is recognized as a drone flight services innovation leader, transforming organizations with drone delivery and drone technology solutions. The company develops SaaS platforms having patented mobile app technology available at the Apple App and Google Play Stores. With technology-driven customers, together they inspire the future of drone services, providing intelligent access to airspace, automation innovation, streamlined process management, operational efficiency, and a commitment to safety.
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