The Drone Racing League Takes Flight

Five months ago, we led the first investment in the Drone Racing League with the intention of building the next great sports property. Today we are proud to announce its official launch.

While it is certainly too early to tell if DRL (or drone racing for that matter) will take off, the initial traction has been promising. The DRL team has built state-of-the-art technology and both pilots and fans have shown their passion for drone racing as a sport of the future. This early feedback, coupled with our belief in the DRL management team, is what gives us confidence that drone racing has the potential to become engaging and mainstream.

Through our years of experience working with teams, leagues and fans we’ve come to realize how rare it is to find something truly new and disruptive in sports. Typically, the ‘new’ properties we see are modified versions of old classics (i.e. a 1-on-1 basketball league). A new idea in sports that can actually create something out of nothing is not to be ignored; particularly when it is poised to capitalize on major global trends like VR, eSports and drones (a multi-billion dollar market). It was this combination of factors that both inspired us to invest in DRL, and ignited our imagination for what the future of drone racing could be.

Of course, there remain some looming issues around drone racing that need to be resolved before the sport can truly scale. These include: creating the necessary channels to foster grass roots engagement, the development of standardized rules, and technological improvements to create a more fan friendly live-event.

While some investors might see these challenges as red flags, we see them merely as growing pains in a nascent sport that carries massive potential. At RSE, we are searching for ideas on the fringe, long before the details have been worked out and (of course) have great entrepreneurs behind the wheel. We look for the opportunity to mold a company from the ground floor using our portfolio and institutional knowledge as resources. Furthermore, early stage companies (like DRL) not only carry the most upside, but also give us the chance to get deeply involved in the business and help shape the future of the company.

We have high conviction in what we do, and the necessary resources to build big, novel and seemingly implausible businesses. We are proud to be a part of the DRL growth story and look forward to a very exciting road ahead.

Since our initial investment in August, DRL has held two full-scale events: The Gates of Hell (New York, NY) and Miami Lights (Miami, FL). Today the media from these events have been released, and you can see for yourself what gets us so excited about the future of drone racing.