The Parrot Group has decided to pull the plug out of drone service supplier Airinov, because of disappointing financial results.
On its website Airinov has published a statement: ‘Airinov has launched a discussion with its shareholder, the Parrot Group, on the future of its activities. The conclusions of this reflection have been reached and it is with great sadness that we announce the closure of Airinov.’
French company Airinov was founded in 2010. The ambitious start-up wanted to become the largest agricultural drone service company. It reportedly had some 12,000 clients. Drone manufacturer Parrot took over Airinov in 2014, after which development more or less grounded to a halt.
One of the problems Airinov faced was that only a limited number of growers saw a need for highly detailed drone imagery of high-yielding crops.
As a result, the company’s profit was plummeting. In 2019, Airinov accounted for € 200,000 in revenue, a mere 1% of Parrot’s total business and almost 70% less than in the first quarter of 2018, according to Dutch website Boerenbusiness.
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Meanwhile Parrot’s other subsidiaries, MicaSense (sensors), SenseFly (eBee drone) and Pix4D (drone software) performed much better, with MicaSense even doubling its revenue.
To turn things around, Airinov tried other strategies, such as a drone leasing service, launched at this year’s SIMA show, to make the technology ore affordable to farmers.
Unfavourable circumstances in the agricultural sector are another reason for Airinov’s decline. According to Parrot, much less rapeseed has been sown in France, so less hectares have been scanned. The weather conditions also didn’t help.
The Airinov team is at farmers’ disposal for last requests or questions until the end of July.