The life of a start up can be both thrilling and stressful often at the same time. So it appears to be for xCraft, an innovative drone manufacturer based in Idaho.
xCraft has designed two drones – each unique. The X PlusOne drone is something of a hybrid that marries the speed of a fixed-wing drone with the hovering stability and landing accuracy of a quadcopter. The second is the PhoneDrone Ethos in which the smartphone becomes the tech engine for a quadcopter. You snap your Android or iOS device into a quadcopter chassis, and you are good to go. The X PlusOne is available for purchase; the PhoneDrone Ethos is available for pre-order on Indiegogo here.
To fund the company, xCraft launched a successful Kickstarter campaign and then hit something of a jackpot with an appearance on Shark Tank, the ABC reality show in which investors vet business pitches and decide whether to make an investment. JD Claridge and Charles Manning of xCraft made a good pitch and received a $1.5 million investment. And the appearance also gave great promotion for their product. So much so that they now find demand outpacing production. There is currently about a 90-day waiting period for an X PlusOne according to JD Claridge. The product in highest demand is their high end fully autonomous model the X Plus One Platinum.
In a phone conversation, Claridge said the company’s priority is delivering commitments on the X PlusOne. They currently manufacture the drones in Idaho where they are headquartered from parts made in China. Managing the assembly themselves has proven to be slow but allowed them to more directly incorporate user feedback. They have been tweaking the code and have made some design modifications to elements such as the gimbal for the GoPro.
Claridge said that they expect to have contracted an outside manufacturing firm for assembly and have it online within the next two months. The backlog will be cleared, and the turn around time on orders will be within 24 hours.