Grand Forks Student Venture Group Backs Michigan UAS Company

A Michigan company developing detect and avoid software for unmanned aircraft systems has received backing from a Grand Forks investment group.

Dakota Venture GroupDakota Venture Group, a student-run venture capital fund based at the UND Center for Innovation, recently finalized an investment into SkySpecs Inc., according to a news release. The release did not specify how much money was invested.

SkySpecs CEO Danny Ellis said he is looking forward to the company building a stronger relationship with DVG and North Dakota, a place he has had professional ties to for several years.

“North Dakota has proven they are leaders in the UAS industry and we view the investment by DVG as a continuation of our relationship with the state of North Dakota,” Ellis said.

SkySpecs specializes in software that allows an unmanned aircraft, also known as a drone, to detect and avoid obstacles during flight. The product lets pilots focus primarily on data collection, while freeing their attention from the safe flight of the vehicle, the release said.

Alongside DVG, the Center for Innovation is the virtual and physical home to nearly two dozen UAS firms, ranging from aerial inspection to data management to manufacturing companies.

“And there will be more,” said Bruce Gjovig, CEO and entrepreneur coach at the center. “The winners will make a compelling case to customers on innovation, reliability, scalability and affordability which DVG has factored in on this investment.”

Emily O’Brien, chairwoman of DVG, said the group will be working to foster additional relationships with other unmanned firms housed in the incubator.

“There is no better place to be than North Dakota when working with drone companies, especially Grand Forks,” she added.