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VCs See Ex-Wired Editor's DIY Drones Taking Flight Chris Anderson left one of the most prominent posts in tech media to become CEO of 3D Robotics, a company that helps hackers and engineers build do-it-yourself drones. Last fall he locked up a $5 million funding round.

By Marty Jerome

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Last year Chris Anderson chucked one of the most prominent posts in tech media--editor of Wired--to become CEO of 3D Robotics, a company that helps hackers, engineers and enthusiasts build do-it-yourself drones, the small, remote-controlled helicopters and planes that are mostly used for aerial photography and surveillance on the cheap.

To those who've read the bestselling author's books, the move came as no surprise. The Long Tail (2006) makes the case that our economy and culture are shifting from mass markets to millions of niches. Makers (2012) revives the notion of profitable, low-unit manufacturing, thanks to open-source design and 3-D printing.

Aerial robotics "has been my passion for about five years," Anderson says. He founded San Diego-based 3D Robotics in 2009 with Jordi Muñoz (then 21 and just arrived from Tijuana, Mexico) to commercialize some of his projects. "It's never been easier to get into manufacturing than it is today," Anderson says. "Jordi started on a kitchen table, but then built an amazing team and advanced production facility in San Diego. He taught himself everything, bought our first pick-and-place machine on eBay and even hacked a toaster oven for use in manufacturing."