$30M raised, will DroneDeploy create first Trillionaires w/ Drones + AI and Machine Learning? w/ CEO Mike Winn

Mike Winn

In Episode #676, Nathan interviews Mike Winn. He’s the CEO and founder of the company called DroneDeploy, the leading cloud-software platform for commercial drones and he’s on the mission to make the sky successful and productive for everybody. The company focuses on the agricultural and construction industries, but its large customers are from almost every industry across 130 countries. He has collected more than 8M acres of aerial imagery. Prior to joining Deploy, Mike worked at Google and was an RC helicopters hobbyist.

Famous Five:

  • Favorite Book? – The Effective Executive
  • What CEO do you follow? – Elon Musk
  • Favorite online tool? — Gmail
  • How many hours of sleep do you get?— 7
  • If you could let your 20-year old self, know one thing, what would it be? – “You can pretty much do whatever you set your mind to”

Time Stamped Show Notes:

  • 01:26 – Nathan introduces Mike to the show
  • 02:20 – DroneDeploy has raised $31M from VCs
    • 02:26 – DroneDeploy had 3 rounds and the last one was in July 2016
  • 03:00 – DroneDeploy was launched in 2013
    • 03:05 – It stated in Edinburg, UK and was moved to the USA
  • 03:25 – Mike got married in the middle of the incubator program
  • 04:03 – Mike’s wife, Carrie, has always been supportive
  • 04:15 – Mike was an account manager and selling AdWords at Google
    • 04:30 – After 18 months, he moved to another team
  • 04:56 – Mike was 27 when he started DroneDeploy
    • 05:24 – Mike had £100K grant money to back him up
    • 05:39 – Mike was paying himself £1500
  • 05:53 – DroneDeploy’s Twitter has unbelievable aerial imagery
  • 06:05 – DroneDeploy make software for drones
    • 06:13 – Primary industries are agriculture and construction, but they also touch other industries that exist
  • 06:43 – DroneDeploy only focuses on software
  • 06:56 – DroneDeploy is a SaaS business
    • 07:08 – Customers can try DroneDeploy for free
    • 07:12 – For commercial use, pay is $100 a month
  • 07:26 – DroneDeploy has 2 channels
    • 07:34 – To get more accurate data and large 3D plans, try the business plan which is $300 a month
    • 07:44 – The other channel is to expand by the number of seats
    • 08:21 – One seat is $100
  • 08:30 – DroneDeploy has over a thousand paying businesses
  • 08:56 – The drone market is still young, but growing really fast
  • 09:52 – Team size is 60
  • 10:15 – Nathan publishes on Youtube—Check it out!
  • 10:36 – Mark Cuban predicted that the first trillionaire will be from the AI space
  • 11:00 – Mike’s co-founders have PhDs in machine learning
  • 11:10 – Mike sees the path of DroneDeploy becoming a trillion dollar business
  • 12:03 – In the future, you don’t only want drones to collect data but to take action as well
  • 13:07 – DroneDeploy currently works with B2B
  • 13:32 – What is interesting about drones is the technology community
  • 13:50 – Drone provides the bird’s eye view for the farmers
  • 14:23 – One of the farmers who used DroneDeploy found a fungus when he saw that a certain part of the land was different in color
  • 15:02 – In construction, it easier to work around with a drone especially when there’s a disaster, like an earthquake
  • 15:47 – CAC
    • 15:55 – DroneDeploy has a successful blog
    • 16:17 – DroneDeploy has an NPS of around 40
  • 16:52 – 6 people in the team are on sales and the rest are engineers
  • 17:15 – Churn
    • 17:45 – The use of a drone is seasonal
  • 18:01 – DroneDeploy is looking at what the customers want to do and how they can get consumers to use drones throughout the whole year
  • 18:36 – MRR is around $100K
  • 18:58 – DroneDeploy still burns cash monthly
    • 19:30 – DroneDeploy can still manage until 2018 without additional capital
  • 20:27 – Mike would bet on DJI winning the drone hardware space
  • 21:38 – The Famous Five

3 Key Points:

  1. The drone market is still very young, but is growing rapidly.
  2. The future of the AI industry is promising and it’s very likely that the first trillionaire will be from the AI space.
  3. You can turn your hobby into a business, just put your mind to it.

Resources Mentioned:

  • The Top Inbox – The site Nathan uses to schedule emails to be sent later, set reminders in inbox, track opens, and follow-up with email sequences
  • Organifi – The juice was Nathan’s life saver during his trip in Southeast Asia
  • Klipfolio – Track your business performance across all departments for FREE
  • Acuity Scheduling – Nathan uses Acuity to schedule his podcast interviews and appointments
  • Host Gator– The site Nathan uses to buy his domain names and hosting for the cheapest price possible
  • Audible– Nathan uses Audible when he’s driving from Austin to San Antonio (1.5-hour drive) to listen to audio books
  • Freshbooks – Nathan doesn’t waste time so he uses Freshbooks to send out invoices and collect his money. Get your free month NOW
  • Show Notes provided by Mallard Creatives