Kespry, the Menlo Park based aerial intelligence platform founded in 2013, has deepened its executive bench over the past few months beginning with a new CEO (George Mathew) and several other key hires including Jim Allison, VP Engineering and Jitender Aswani, VP of Product and Analytics. Dronelife spoke with Allison and Aswani recently on a variety of topics, including what attracted them to the company, how they work together, and their overall strategy moving forward.
Aswani, passionate and voluble, Allison, measured and deliberate, are both technology veterans who are working together to bring their past experiences in growing companies to bear at Kespry.
The first question that we asked was, Why Kespry?
For both it was about the team. Allison noted that he met with a couple of Kespry’s competitors and what attracted him to Kespry was the focus on the solutions being delivered rather than the drone itself. The company is not being run by drone focused founders but by technology veterans concentrating on delivering actionable data to customers in the most seamless and fastest way possible. Aswani shares that point of view stating, ”There are 4 things I am looking for when evaluating an opportunity: who’s on the bus, the fundamental use case, the growth potential, and the clarity of the mission. With Kespry I found a good fit across all four dimensions.”
As VP of Engineering and VP of Product, Allison and Aswani have overlapping responsibilities in areas such as user experience but they share a philosophy that is highly collaborative and is driven by customer satisfaction. Aswani said, “The product is a shared responsibility that must be shared by the customer. If the product definition has not been shaped by the customer then the product is not ready and if it is not a shared responsibility it will be a failed product. Customer impact needs be at the center. We want to create value with unique applications that users take full advantage of.”
Not surprisingly, this shared approach is informed on part by their past professional experiences. Aswani who arrived from Facebook said FB was all about customer impact. “We don’t write a single line of code unless you understand customer impact. It’s all about data and how customers are interacting with the product.”
Allison, who worked for a time at Lily, saw first hand the consequences of poor communication. “Lily taught me that it’s really important to maintain a dialogue with customers, set delivery plans that are feasible and thought out and to deliver on those plans. Expectations need to be properly set for both the customers and the investors.”
The concept of collaboration is not restricted to the two of them. As they move forward in developing the product, they are looking to create a multiplier effect across a variety of markets and to accomplish this they recognize a need to partner with other companies. Allison said that they would be creating an API for others to take advantage of their data and insights, to amplify the number of apps, increase their stickiness and create more value for the customer.
Allison said, “We are just scratching the surface. There are other capabilities to be developed and opportunities to be realized and that will require making the platform extensible.”
Allison concluded the conversation where it began with his enthusiasm for the team running Kespry, a team that “can realize the opportunity and deliver on the demand. It is a team that differentiates us from our competitors. We have a good foundation and good traction and with reasonable prudence and focus that will enable us to grow the company as organically as possible.”
Aswani has seen past trends such as e-commerce and cloud computing develop before. “Companies that capture a trend become unstoppable. We are at the cusp of capturing a trend.”