Just a few weeks ago, we received a message from the World Bank office in Tanzania. They had to map Dar el Salaam international airport with drones, but they were missing the flight awareness to safely do it. So, they needed us and our solution to finalize the mission. We instantly accepted the challenge and, next thing we knew, Manu and one portable micro control tower were on an airplane to Dar el Salaam.
They worked for 3 days, giving their best. Well, Manu forgot to wear sunscreen, but, hey, a lobster can still operate a micro control tower, can't he?...
How did these 3 days look like? The headquarters were established in a school yard neighboring the airport, to the delight of the kids going there - a schoolyard, because there is enough space to launch and land a fixed-wing drone, like the one they used.
Deo, who is part of the World Bank team in Tanzania, launched the drone, Manu followed the air traffic captured by the micro control tower, while ensuring that the drone does not crash into an airplane, and everybody, especially airport authorities who kept a close eye and contact on Manu, Deo and the micro control tower, were very happy.
So, the mission was a success, everybody had a good time and was finally glad to close the chapter of mapping the airport. Also, as a reward, the last day of the mission the whole team enjoyed a nice soccer game between local kids teams which happened to take place in the same schoolyard.
We are very proud to have been a part of this project and we are always looking forward to going back to Tanzania.
Last week we have participated in the Acceleration Program in Silicon Valley, organized by Swisscom Startup. Words cannot describe how this experience has been valuable for our business and on the human side, but I will give it a try!
Moving to a new country and understanding how things work, developing a network of contacts, adapting to new environments and managing to survive could really take a lot of time. Trust me, as an Italian that moved to Switzerland 13 years ago, it took me at least 2 years to fully understand this country. Now, as the time to extend our business to California is approaching, this program allowed us to skip this long adaptation phase. We could decipher the country, develop a network of important contacts and open “impossible” doors just in one single week! This is simply incredible but it is not all.
It has been a week full of surprises on the human side as well. Not only sharing our experience with other startup founders and startup coaches has been intense and valuable, but being in close contact with Swisscom Management and Swisscom Outpost team in California has been an unbelievably enriching experience. Everybody was motivated to give their maximum and the atmosphere was always full of energy. Correct me if I am wrong but Swiss people stereotype is being cold, right? Well, I think it should be updated to “warm people with the heart in their hands”.
So, what is this “Swisscom Outpost” about? It is a carefully selected team of people based in Palo Alto, actively following how Silicon Valley new technologies and business trends are going to change the way we live and advise Swisscom mothership in Switzerland accordingly. Change, aka “adapt or you are dead”, is something that nowadays is crucial, especially for big companies, as these can implement changes only at a slower pace. I was really amazed to see how Swisscom is exploring and anticipating in order to cope faster with new trends. Innovation flows in the veins of the blue giant, which is definitely not only a communication company but an innovation leader in the country of innovators. The Swisscom Outpost is, therefore, the Swisscom innovation tip-of-the-iceberg right in the middle of the Silicon Valley.
So, thank you all for the incredible experience, the warm welcoming and the human connection we could establish. If you are a startup founder and you are reading this, I warmly advise you to apply for this program next year!
Photo credit @Cyril Mugglin
Some months ago, we were letting you know that we were finalists of the Swisscom Startup Challenge. Now, we are proud to announce that we won and we are one of the five startups going to California to benefit from a weeklong tailor-made trip to accelerate our business.
What we would like to also share with you is the experience we had at the competition. In a nutshell, it was an impressive day. Organizers made us feel at home, welcome, special. It was a day of emotions, of competition, of friendship, of dedication and determination.
Even if we were bound to interact with the top management of Swisscom, they made us feel at ease, so that we take out the best in us. And we did.
Finding ourselves among the winners was the treat of the day. Sure, we worked a lot to bring our startup to that level and to be able to efficiently communicate this to the jury, but in the end it was a difficult task for them to choose and they did it with professionalism and vision.
Swisscom Startup is an incredible program and a huge opportunity for all startups in Switzerland. We are thrilled to be part of this and proud to have gotten the endorsement of Swisscom.
See you in Silicon Valley!
Many of you may have already at least heard about the Swisscom Startup Challenge. For those who haven't, this is a prestigious Swisscom supported startup program aiming at accelerating innovative startups and setting them on the path to success. As such, they offer to the winners a week-long trip to Silicon Valley to develop their ideas and meet with industry specialists, potential investors and clients.
For the 2017 competition, there were more than 200 applicants, out of which only 10 finalists and we are one of them. We are particularly proud of this achievement since the endorsement of such specialists and visionaries as the ones behind Swisscom Startup Challenge comes to the support of our own projection of the drones world future and, once again, confirms there is an immediate need for a solution of drones' integration to the today's aviation world.
We have been for a few days in Dallas to attend one of the most important meetings on drones and UAS, AUVSI Xponential 2017.
The goal of our participation was to have a first feeling on how our concept is perceived by clients, partners, authorities and academia.
It is unnecessary to say that there is a real need for reliable collision avoidance for our clients. But besides confirming that, we were able to explain our approach to authorities (FAA and ICAO) and people involved in solving how to share the sky between manned and unmanned airplanes (Assure and UTM Nasa). All of them agreed on the fact that our approach is novel, simple and effective.
This is very good news for us, but also an incentive to make our product a reliable and certified reality as soon as possible. Therefore, we are going to evaluate the capabilities of our system very quickly in one of the NASA facilities for drone testing around the US, meanwhile, we will officially submit our approach to ICAO in order to participate to the next “Drone Enable, ICAO’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) industry symposium”.
senseFly is a Swiss drone maker, part of the Parrot group. senseFly's drones are used worldwide for applications like cartography, GIS, agriculture, etc.
We are happy to announce that a collaboration with senseFly is ongoing and we are going to test our products together.