Keith Miao is the founder and CEO of Birdstop Inc., a San Francisco Bay Area remote sensing company using BVLOS drones and AI to deliver real-time physical world intelligence. Prior to Birdstop, Miao was a data science lead at Google and before that, an analyst in Washington, D.C. He first started working on remote sensing at the Columbia University Earth Institute using satellite imagery and GIS.
Keith Miao, the CEO and founder of Birdstop Inc., began his career working in imagery and data science, “working with satellite imagery to solve some of the problems we’re trying to solve now with BVLOS drones,” he said.
After working in the public sector in Washington, D.C., he moved to Mountain View, California, to lead a data science team at Google before leaving to found Birdstop.
“The idea behind Birdstop has always been, how can we leverage the drone technology that is maturing, but more importantly, beyond visual line of sight, in order to place these flying sensors across the nation and operate them all remotely?” he said. “Creating something that’s akin to a constellation of satellites, but sitting on the ground instead of autonomous flying sensors, hundreds, thousands of miles away in space.”
The company oversees a network of drones across the country, operated from what the company describes as “a NASA-style mission control” in California. It already operates in several states, including Alabama, California and Texas, and is obviously looking to expand.
The company announced this summer it raised $2.3 million to expand its BVLOS drone network and grow its artificial intelligence capabilities. The funding round was led by Lerer Hippeau and included Anorak Ventures, Correlation Ventures, Data Tech Fund, Graph Ventures, Techstars, Timberline Holdings and investors in energy and telecommunications.
“Developments in drone technology and beyond visual line of sight regulation over the past decade are allowing Birdstop’s vision to be realized for the first time,” Andrea Hippeau, a partner at Lerer Hippeau, said in a statement announcing the funding. “Birdstop’s ability to generate real-time intel remotely is a huge step forward for the industry.”