Richfield-based drone company has big plans

sentera

A Minnesota-born civilian drone company has spun out of its former corporate parent and this year made Richfield its world ­headquarters.

Sentera may be the largest pure-play drone company in the state and has deep ­industry roots.

The 20-employee company also just raised $5 million in expansion capital from a ­private investor.

“Our team includes some of the pioneers in the industry,” said Sentera CEO and co-founder Eric Taipale, 44. Taipale nearly 20 years ago was part of a team at the former Lockheed Martin plant in Eagan that developed the electronics for the first Predator drones for the U.S. military.

Sentera, located on Cedar Avenue across the street from Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, “is not a great location for flying drones,” quipped Vice President Greg Emerick, 52, the other co-founder and a pilot and veteran agricultural sales executive who knows something about high-security areas and drone limitations.

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