Phillip Frost-backed drone company adds Aventura office


 Reporter-South Florida Business Journal

A drone manufacturer funded by Miami Beach billionaire Dr. Phillip Frost is opening an Aventura office.

Jacksonville-based Drone Aviation Holding Corp. (OTCQB: DRNE) is still a small company, with just about 15 full-time and part-time staff in its headquarters.

But as the Federal Aviation Administration moves closer to establishing regulations for commercial drone use, the company has its feelers out in South Florida.

“The goal here is to start to develop partnerships with local firms that we can start to have as operators of our system,” said COO Dan Erdberg, the first person to work in the Aventura office.

The FAA proposed rules for commercial drone use last month. Final regulations are expected to pass next year — and Drone Aviation wants to be prepared with a network of clients.

The company, which already counts the Department of Defense among its customers, is reaching out to South Florida businesses who could use tethered drones for needs such as security or agricultural monitoring.

Drone Aviation hopes to beef up its Aventura office once commercial drone regulations have been passed in the U.S., Erdberg said. The office will also be a center for the company’s Latin American operations.

Earlier this week, the company launched a new electric tethered drone that aims to help emergency responders, journalists and others monitor the ground for long periods of time.

Frost leads the company’s strategic advisory board after leading a $1.5 million investment in the firm in August. He is also CEO of Miami-based biotech firm Opko Health.

Drone Aviation reported $328,000 in third-quarter revenue on a net loss of $1 million, compared to $76,000 in revenue and a net loss of $86,000 for the same quarter the previous year.