RALEIGH — Cloneable, a new Raleigh-headquartered startup, is working to make drones more intelligent—and the company is led by former leaders of PrecisionHawk, the well-known Raleigh-headquartered drone startup that was bought by a European company earlier this year.

Cloneable announced today that they are leaving “stealth” mode—publicly announcing their company and their latest round of funding, a $750,000 pre-seed round from First In.

Cloneable supports companies with “edge devices”—like tablets, IoT devices, robots, and drones – that operate in the field. Their platform helps those companies deploy “intelligence” on those devices—meaning that instead of just collecting data, those edge devices can do more, and in real-time.

“Imagine this: a drone that’s not just collecting data, but understanding it, categorizing it based on business rules, and taking meaningful action—like dispatching a lineman to assess rust on a transformer,” said Lia Reich, Cloneable chief operating officer.

Reich spoke with TechWire about Cloneable’s public announcement—and shared more details about their tech.

“Our platform enables the building and deployment of AI apps for drones, robots, IoT, and other edge devices without any code,” said Reich. “This creates applications that are customized, flexible, and instantly deployable. We’ve also leveraged advancements in generative AI to ensure application development is accessible to nontechnical users across a business.”

Screenshot of the Cloneable platform | Image provided by Cloneable

Patrick Lohman, Cloneable CEO, said in the company’s press release that the opportunity is around bringing intelligence to devices in the field.

“Machines generally lack context in data collection. Cloneable changes that,” said Lohman in the press release. “By making it easy to unite deep tech with a company’s specific logic, field devices can make contextual decisions without the delays and congestion of data transfers and post-processing.”

Connections to PrecisionHawk

Lohman was part of the founding team of PrecisionHawk, spending 11 years at the company until he announced his departure earlier this year.

Patrick Lohman, Cloneable CEO | Image provided by Cloneable

Reich also worked at PrecisionHawk, serving as the company’s Sr. Director of Communications and VP of Marketing Communications.

“We were encouraged by [PrecisionHawk] acquisition and the continued investment in drones for smarter, safer infrastructure management,” Reich told TechWire. “We believe that the tools we are building at Cloneable will be a critical complement to hardware OEMs and application developers looking for fast and easy ways to improve drone data collection and real-time analysis.”

(OEM: An original equipment manufacturer is a company whose goods are used as components in the products of another company, according to Investopedia.)

Tyler Collins, Cloneable CTO | Image provided by Cloneable

Tyler Collins, who’s described in the press release as Cloneable’s CTO, was with PrecisionHawk for almost ten years, starting as a flight technician in 2013.  Like Lohmna, he left PrecisionHawk earlier this year, according to LinkedIn.

Reich says that the Cloneable team is leveraging their previous experiences to drive the new startup’s technology forward.

“Our team spent more than a decade working exclusively with Fortune 1000 companies to integrate drones and other deep tech like AI and machine learning into their field processes,” Reich told TechWire. “We became increasingly frustrated by the many inefficiencies of the integration process. It was time-consuming, expensive, and the devices we worked with didn’t know why they were collecting that data, or what to do with it. Strategically, this made it very difficult to scale these technologies. Even today, ten years later, this challenge persists. Drones, for example, don’t have the capability or context to know what they’re collecting, why they’re collecting it, or what to do with it to make it actionable.”

Lia Reich, Cloneable COO | Image provided by Cloneable

Reich said the team came together to start Cloneable to “‘clone’ the knowledge and experience of company experts” and bring that intelligence “to the edge, at the point of data collection.” And now, the company has backing for that mission from First In.

“As enterprises embrace edge computing, they need fast, flexible, and intelligent applications that can drive decision making at the device-level,” said Renny McPherson, Partner at First In, in the press release. “Cloneable has assembled an exceptional team that is developing the next generation of edge application development tools that will empower businesses to innovate faster and more efficiently.”

What’s next for Cloneable

“What you can expect as we come out of stealth and into 2024 is the ability to build and deploy to any edge device,” Reich told TechWire. “We have a passion and belief in the value of drone technology and look forward to working with innovation teams at large enterprises but also the many drone service providers collecting field data around the globe today, but we see just as big an opportunity in IoT as enterprises look to use cases like decarbonization and sustainability.”

According to Reich, the no-code Cloneable beta platform will be opening to developers this month; see  cloneable.ai/technology.