Techstars, a United States heavyweight in accelerating technology companies, is opening the door to the global defense and security sectors for New Zealand’s Dotterel Technologies.

The drone technology startup has been picked to join a Techstars program based in Adelaide over the next three months. This is the first time Techstars has run its program in Asia Pacific and it will focus on developing and commercialising technologies for the defense and security sectors.

Dotterel develops noise reduction and audio-enabling technology for drones, with a focus on making drones quieter for various commercial uses such as cinematography and defense.

Dotterel’s technology suite includes acoustic shrouds comprising sound-absorbing nanofibre, low noise propellers and onboard audio recording hardware and software.

Last year Dotterel gained global recognition when it won the NewsShooter “most innovative product” award at the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Show in Las Vegas.

Along with an investment of US$120,000, Techstars Adelaide will mean Dotterel gets to collaborate with some of the world’s top defense industry companies, including Boeing, Thales and Saab.

Dotterel’s co-founder Shaun Edlin says it is an incredible opportunity to work closely with world-leading defense companies that Dotterel ultimately views as partners and future customers.

“It will allow us to tailor our business model and refine our technology for key defense companies,” he says. “We really couldn’t ask for a better stepping stone.”

Air New Zealand is supporting Dotterel with Travel to Techstars and international trade shows in the coming year, where the team will share itstechnology with potential partners and industry leaders.

Air New Zealand’s Chief Marketing and Customer Officer, Mike Tod, says the airline has been actively exploring drone technology and its potential in both customer facing and operational areas.

“One of the big challenges, particularly in spaces frequented by customers, is minimising the noise impact of drones and it is great to see a Kiwi company like Dotterel being recognised for its innovative efforts.”

Dotterel formed after being selected as a finalist in the inaugural 2015 Callaghan Innovation C-Prize competition. Dotterel’s founding team members are previously key members of carbon capture and reuse technology leader LanzaTech and online investment platform Snowball Effect.

Now it is one only 10 tech startups selected from applicants from around the world for the Techstars Adelaide program.

“There’s been strong global interest in our technology to date,” Mr Edlin says. “Commercialising technology like this takes significant effort and capital and Techstars program has a great track record of enabling early stage companies like Dotterel to raise significant investment from strategic partners.”

Founded in Boulder, Colorado in 2006, Techstars has helped grow more than 1,000 startups around the world, 90% of which are still active, or have been acquired. According to Techstars, graduates of the program have collectively raised over US$3.7 billion and have a total market capitalisation of US$9.6 billion.