view transcript

Tony: When most investors think of drone technology, GoPro and delivery drones immediately come to mind, but the drone racing league is bringing together drone tech and media entertainment in a way that may have Wall Street thinking differently.

Nick (CEO): This is a phenomenal time to be investing in drones and new sports and you see the growth of new technology enabled sports really taking off around the world. Obviously eSports, a big leader in that, electric car racing. There's an appetite out there for new sports that really meet the lifestyle and interest of this really technology centric generation that's coming up now.

Tony: Drone companies enjoyed access to over $700 million in funding for capital markets in 2018, according to research group, Drone II. The Drone Racing League itself recently filed SEC documents showing that it is in the midst of the $50 million series c funding round with $26 million already secured.

Nick (CEO): Drones are incredibly powerful tools. They're versatile. They enabled a flight over short and long distances. They put cameras in the air. They can obviously do a lot of things and I think the applications of that are numerous. People immediately think of drone delivery, but I think you're going to see them everywhere that you would want that kind of ability. Everything from construction to search and rescue, police and emergency responder work, it's all going to be out there and drones are going to be part of it. There's huge ecosystem of drone racing. The Drone Racing League is the professional global circuit because we represent the pinnacle of all that. Pilots graduate into it by either winning our simulator contest or by winning one of the major amateur circuits around the world and we try to take the sport to a whole new level, a level that really appeals to an audience. It doesn't necessarily play the sport. One of the challenges we have is our audience is very young, so they're really into accessing content where they want, how they want.

Tony: The Drone Racing League season will be streamed via Twitter and broadcast via NBC making the jump from ESPN and pulling a niche sport further into the mainstream. DRL already has a three year international contract with China's Youku live streaming service. DRL says that more than 57 million fans have tuned into DRL's first three seasons on Youku.

Nick (CEO): This season, will be the first time that we have Lockheed Martin as a sponsor, they are the title sponsor of the Alpha pilot challenge and the autonomous racing league, so we're very excited to have them involved and we were very excited about the autonomous racing as well and they've enabled us to really go out and put that in front of a global stage for the first time.

Nick (CEO): All of the technology that you see in DRL was developed and built in house.

Tony: What are some of the challenges of building these things in such an interesting space?

Allende : You have here both hardware and software and you have to make sure that any integration, both of them, they work properly.

Nick (CEO): We're doing a lot here a cross a lot of dimensions and we're constantly balancing what we put our effort in as to what is going to be a critical item for the next step.

Ryan (CTO): Designing a drone is actually pretty hard, especially designing a drone for a TV audience. There's some kind of shared expectation that people think of when they think of a racing drone. So we work with concepts like anything from the Batmobile or jet fighters or things from video games, but we have to manifest that into something that also flies well for the world's best pilots.

Tony: DRL is releasing its latest innovation that drone Racer4 to the public in August of 2019 it's the first time drone racing fans will be able to buy the same vehicles league members pilot.

Ryan (CTO): The Racer4 what really is the peak of the performance and professional drone racing. Drone racing can be anywhere, and anything that celebrates, you know, 3d lines. It's really exciting because it's not just a race course. The whole world becomes a race course and we're, we're along the journey.

When investors think of drones they think of GoPro (GPRO - Get Report) and the potential for the technology to revolutionize delivery services. But they may be missing the bigger picture. 

The Drone Racing League is launching its fourth season in August 2019, and while its streaming partnership with Twitter (TWTR - Get Report) and NBC Sports (CMCSA - Get Report) seem to position the company firmly as a media company, CEO Nicholas Horbaczewski believes that his company is a tech company first. 

"This is a phenomenal time to be investing in drones and new sports. The drone racing league is a technology company because at our core, it's the technology that enables all the things we want to do. We cannot perform our sport without our advanced drones and radio systems," Horbaczewski said. 

The company is in the midst of a $50 million Series C funding round, with $26 million of that total already raised. 

It is also releasing the latest generation of its Racer4 drone in August 2019, marking the first time the company will make the drones piloted by members of its league available to the public.

To see the full interview, check out the video above.

Inside the Stock Market: How Investors Can Approach Volatility, According to NYSE Trader

Premium Pick: 3 Tariff Questions That Must Wait for Answers

Ready to Retire: The Biggest Threat to Your Retirement? Check Your Basement

TheStreet Feature: Retail Companies That Have Gone Bankrupt in 2019

Dog Days of Summer: How Consumers Will be Impacted by the September Tariffs

Catch Up: Today's Top News Videos Below