Running an Unmanned Systems Business in an Age of Hype and Inflated Expectations
Tuesday, October 06, 2020: 9:45 AM - 10:30 AM
When the reality of a future commercial drone industry first flooded into the public imagination, the buzzworthiness of the technology and the potential use cases of drones drowned out much common business sense. Investors flushed drone startups with cash, thinking the industry would take off overnight. In this talk, Abby Speicher, CEO and Co-Founder of DARTdrones, outlines how some of the drone industry has been driven by unrealistic growth expectations, gives an insider perspective on running a smart business that outlasts the hype, and gives advice about how other drone entrepreneurs can sustainably grow their companies with an eye on long-term success. In August, Bloomberg published an article that rocked the drone industry and called out unsustainable business activities that led to the closure of several drone startups. The article, titled "Drone Bubble Bursts, Wiping Out Startups and Hammering VC Firms" chronicled the meteoric rise of drone startups and venture capital investments in the sector, but observed “there was some irrationality around drones, a period of hype driven by the popularity of the hobby sector.” Speicher's company is an exception to this pessimistic look at the industry. Speicher pitched her company on Shark Tank and has since seen the company grow into the nationwide leader in drone training — with 12,300+ pilots trained, 300+ public safety departments trained, 14.6 hours of interactive online training, and 148 hours of instructor-led training curriculum. With proper business planning, patience, and persistence, even when growth is slow and steady, drone entrepreneurs can develop their own services and make their mark on the industry.
C-Level Executive,Business Development/Sales,Consultant,Management,Investment/Finance,Marketing/Communications,Student