The contest will give 15 innovative drone companies from all over the world the opportunity to make their pitch before a panel of judges, comprised of heavy-hitters in VC investment. 3 finalists will have the opportunity to present their technology to the public at the Xponential show, and the winner will walk away with a modest cash prize and some priceless exposure.
AUVSI’s CEO Brian Wynne tells DRONELIFE that the contest is a perfect fit for the AUVSI mission to support the drone industry. “One of AUVSI’s key priorities is introducing new ideas to money and money to new ideas – this is critical to the success of this technology,” Wynne says.
In addition to the $15,000 cash prize, bragging rights, and 1 on 1 consulting time with judges – some of the top VC players in the drone industry – the winner will be automatically entered in AUVSI’s Startup Connection event in San Francisco next July. Startup Connection – more of an investor conference than a contest – is a more formalized approach to introducing money to innovators. “There is a great deal of money that wants to be invested in this sector,” Wynne says, commenting that last year’s $500 million in venture capital investment in the drone industry was only the beginning: he expects investment to flood the space when Small UAS rules are finally published and the commercial drone industry opens. “It’s the tip of the iceberg given that we still don’t have rules for the industry.”
The 15 semi-finalists will compete in a closed door Knockout Round where each company will be given 5 minutes to pitch their companies to the judges; 3 finalists will be announced on Tuesday, May 3. Each of the three finalists will have six minutes to pitch their companies to the judges, followed by six minutes of questions.
The Startup Showdown judges are: Jonathan Downey, Founder and CEO, Airware and General Partner, The Commercial Drone Fund; Gareth Keane, Investment Manager, Qualcomm Ventures; Jonathan Rubin, Partner, Westbury Group; and Muzzammil Zaveri, Partner, KPCB.
The 15 semi-finalists are listed below; more information about the companies can be found on the Xponential conference site here.
1. AnsuR BirdEye, based in Lysaker, Norway
2. ANT-Global Services, based in Sudbury, Massachusetts
3. Asylon, based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
4. BrashTech, based in Auckland, New Zealand
5. Dronesmith Technologies, based in Henderson, Nevada
6. Dronomy, based in Tel Aviv, Israel
7. EXO Technologies, based in Tel Aviv, Israel
8. GenSmart, based in Miami, Florida
9. Harbrick Technologies, based in Portland, Oregon
10. Luminati Aerospace, based in Riverhead, New York
11. Skytango™, based in Ireland
12. SmartC2, based in Grand Forks, North Dakota
13. Stratetek, based in Minneapolis, Minnesota
14. Vanilla Aircraft, based in Falls Church, Virginia
15. Viooa Imaging Technology Inc., based in Vancouver, British Columbia
Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.
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