WWE and Allianz Lead $20 Million Investment in Drone Racing League

Can DRL’s second season’s success match its second round of investing?

Jordan Temkin
Jordan "Jet" Temkin proved that the Drone Racing League has star power when he took home its first-ever championship.Drone Racing League

Millions tuned in to ESPN to watch Jordan "Jet" Temkin take home the Drone Racing League’s first ever championship. Millions more tuned in over a season featuring epic LED tracks in stadiums and abandoned shopping malls, and that apparently was a good enough showing for investors.

Existing partners Sky, Liberty Media Corp. (owner of Formula 1) and Lux Capital led the way in a lucrative $20 million second round of investing for DRL.

DRL was also able to secure new investors, Allianz ­— its global Title Sponsor of the race circuit— and World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) that could help secure its future as the next big spectator sporting event.

Existing partners Hearst Ventures, RSE Ventures, Lerer Hippeau Ventures, and Courtside Ventures also joined in the round.

"We're incredibly proud to announce new partners and investors aligning with DRL to solidify drone racing as the sport of the future," said Nicholas Horbaczewski, CEO and Founder of DRL, in a press release. "Over the past 18 months, we've committed to building a technology company that can capture the imagination of new sports fans around the world. The support we have from some of the most respected brands and investors is helping us rapidly realize that vision."

The news comes on the heels of DRL wrapping up filming for its second season's 2017 Allianz World Championship, which was the headline event during London Tech Week. The race was held at London's iconic Alexandra Palace in an 8-person winner-take-all season finale.

DRL’s Racer 3, which features components like a Tempest integrated F3 flight controller running Betaflight, is certainly an improvement over the monstrosity they were using in season one. With equipment upgrades and a field more stacked than last season, we can expect the best racing yet — and that means more viewers and more financial support in the future.

"DRL is hands down the best racing that I've ever been a part of," says DRL pilot and DSA Nationals and Worlds Runner-Up Paul Nurkkala. "Cameras, lights, hype, and audio aside, spec racing is the way of the future. Because you're flying with the best pilots in the world, and everyone's flying the exact same machine, the racing is always incredible.

"Season One will pale in comparison to Season Two of DRL," Nurkkala continues. "Everything is bigger, better, faster, and the storytelling has gotten so much better."

DRL pilot Nick "Wild Willy" Willard agrees that Season Two will be "exponentially" better, and that it has been the opportunity of a lifetime.

"Nobody understands how good it's about to be," Willard says. "It was amazing being a part of it, definitely one of the best experiences in my life."