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Meet A UAS Startup

There is a huge difference between driving a truck and operating a tow truck business. That was the sentiment shared with our team during a visit to SkySkopes Inc.'s headquarters, a UAS startup.
By Luke Geiver | July 09, 2015

There is a huge difference between driving a truck and operating a tow truck business. That was the sentiment shared with our team during a visit to SkySkopes Inc.’s headquarters. We asked the question to understand how the new company views itself compared to other UAV hobbyists. SkySkopes’ four-man team is the epitome of a startup, operating out of a relatively bare office with a single conference table set next to the very equipment trunks they use in the field. We had the chance to spend the afternoon with Matt Dunlevy, CEO of the young company that recently received its U.S. FAA section 333 exemption to operate commercially, for a story on what is taking shape to be about what it means to be a UAS startup.

In the case of SkySkopes, it means being hungry in a sense, and performing pro bono work for possible clients or spending countless hours researching or tweaking small elements of an operation. It means navigating the legal and 333 process. It means tapping into established relationships (family included) for work or making in-person visits to possible clients to pitch the benefits of UAS use, specifically SkySkopes brand of service. Being a UAS startup is apparently exciting, as evidence by the enthusiasm exuded from Dunlevy and his team. It is also overwhelming (in a good way), considering all of the possible platform, software and payload upgrades the company believes it could make. And, without a doubt, it is certain to lead to a lucrative future. The company has already formed meaningful business partnerships or signed contracts for a number of different applications, from basic aerial photography to cell tower inspection work.

The SkySkopes story also reveals a unique element of the industry. According to Dunlevy, when his team reaches out to other UAS businesses operating outside of the industry for general knowledge, advice or information about the business related of questions like service pricing and strategies, the detailed level of response and insight given in response is amazing. “We are all,” he said, “ambassadors for the UAS industry.”

The story on SkySkopes is only just beginning—both in real life and on our team’s computer screens—but it was clear to see from our afternoon talking in the office and flying a multirotor outdoors that the SkySkopes story is about more than just four hungry UAS entrepreneurs trying to secure their next job. It is about a culture that exists in the industry we should all be thankful for. The more ambassadors of UAS growth we have like SkySkopes and the competitors that operate in the same space (and there are a lot), the sooner every entity moves out of the bare bones office to the big business complex. 

Look for the full story soon.