Governor Ralph Northam today announced that DroneUp, a web and mobile platform for on-demand drone pilot services, will invest $130,000 to expand its headquarters operation in Virginia Beach. Virginia successfully competed with North Carolina for the project, which will create 41 new jobs.
"The soaring success of innovative companies like DroneUp is a reflection of the many competitive advantages available to unmanned systems companies in Virginia," said Governor Northam. "With the second-highest concentration of tech workers in the nation, renowned training programs, and a strong talent pipeline, Virginia is well-suited to be a leader in this skyrocketing industry. We are thrilled that DroneUp is reinvesting in the Commonwealth and helping to propel the Hampton Roads economy forward."
DroneUp connects drone clients with qualified drone pilots through its Mission Match™️ process, in-app and on the web. The company delivers on-demand services to commercial, government, and military organizations and addresses critical airspace safety oversight. DroneUp is committed to providing a comprehensive network of pilots while maintaining a steadfast commitment to safety and responsible operations.
"DroneUp's decision to expand its headquarters operation in Virginia Beach is an exciting step forward for the unmanned systems industry in Virginia, and we are proud of our local and regional economic development partners for their success in making Hampton Roads a hub for manufacturing and testing in this important sector," said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. "The NASA Langley Research Center and Wallops Island are just a few of the R&D assets available to companies in Virginia Beach, along with a skilled workforce and dedicated institutions of higher education. We are confident that with access to these resources, DroneUp will continue to thrive in the region and the Commonwealth."
"We are honored to be part of the Virginia business community," said Tom Walker, founder and CEO of DroneUp. "We are sincerely grateful to Governor Northam, the Virginia Economic Development Partnership, the Hampton Roads Economic Development Alliance, and the City of Virginia Beach. Their support, along with the Virginia Jobs Investment Program, have helped to ensure that we have the resources necessary to maintain our position as an industry leader in the global drone services space."
The Virginia Economic Development Partnership worked with the City of Virginia Beach and the Hampton Roads Economic Development Alliance to secure the project for Virginia, and will support the company's job creation through the Virginia Jobs Investment Program (VJIP). VJIP provides consultative services and funding to companies creating new jobs or experiencing technological change in order to support employee training activities. As a business incentive supporting economic development, VJIP reduces the human resource costs of new and expanding companies. VJIP is state-funded, demonstrating Virginia's commitment to enhancing job opportunities for citizens.
"The City of Virginia Beach is pleased that DroneUp chose our community to grow their rapidly expanding company," said Mayor of the City of Virginia Beach Robert M. "Bobby" Dyer. "The unmanned systems business segment provides tremendous opportunities and taps the highly trained, technical workforce that you can find throughout our city."
"We are thrilled to partner with the Virginia Economic Development Partnership and the City of Virginia Beach to help DroneUp stay and expand in Hampton Roads," said Doug Smith, President and CEO of the Hampton Roads Economic Development Alliance. "Virginia's ranking as the best state for unmanned aerial systems and the concentration of military and aviation professionals in Hampton Roads makes us uniquely positioned to serve as the headquarters location of a company as innovative as DroneUp."
"Congratulations to Governor Northam, the City of Virginia Beach, and the Virginia Economic Development Partnership for a job well done," said Delegate Cheryl Turpin. "Your hard work and collaborative spirit are a testament to why Virginia is the best state for business. I am excited to watch DroneUp expand right here in the 85th House District."