INTERVIEW WITH DAVE BROWN OF DRONERS.IO
On today’s DroneLawPro Radio show, we discuss drone pilots. Learn about these topics from a top person in the marketplace for drone pilots:
1. Droners.io is a top notch marketplace for drone pilots.
2. Qualified and rated drone pilots increase safety in the skies.
3. It’s important to have a qualified drone pilot under FAA Section 333.
4. Getting a good match between client/customer and drone pilot.
Welcome, this is Enrico Schaefer at DroneLaw.Pro Radio and today we are interviewing Dave Brown from Droners.io, which is a marketplace for drone pilots matching drone pilots with customers. How are you doing today Dave?
Dave: Doing great! How about yourself?
Enrico: Excellent. We did see your site as you guys have been getting a tremendous amount of press and a lot of good press for what you’re doing over that at Droners.io in helping to build this database of pilots so that customers who want to get out there and take drone shots or video or gather data can find a pilot to go do the job. Why don’t you tell us a little bit about Droners.io and what you guys are doing there?
Dave: Sure. So the idea came about a couple of months ago. My wife and I are both kite-boarders and a couple of my friends have drones and they would frequently shoot us out kiting and the footage would be absolutely stunning and I thought there should be lots of people out here … there should be lots of people wanting this same kind of service. I looked around on Google and I tried to search for local drone pilots and they were surprisingly difficult to find a consumer based website to quickly and easily hire a pilot. So I decided to hit the ground running with it and build out an app and eight weeks later Droner.io came about.
Enrico: You’ve got a lot of background in software development and developing marketplaces such as we see on Droners.io and so it seemed like it would be a natural fit for you to jump into this because you know how to build out the back end.
Dave: Before Droners.io, I worked a Google venture company CustomMade.com. The company out of Boston. Really big two-sided marketplace for makers. They are the largest makers’ marketplace in the world and so with that experience, I felt I was able to build a top notch marketplace for drone pilots.
Enrico: You guys have just blown up on the internet and it just shows how much demand there it match customers with pilots. So let’s talk a little bit about the pilot side. So let’s say I’m a drone pilot. I went through the FAA process, I got my Section 333 exemption, I’m ready to fly for customers. How does Droners.io help me as a Section 333 Exemption pilot?
Dave: You sign up on the site. You fill out some basic information about yourself as a pilot, what you would like to do and what you are qualified to do via weddings, real estate, events. We’ve got, I believe, thirteen categories right now to choose from. You fill out your profile, a profile photo. We have an area for you to upload or paste in links of your Vimeo or YouTube videos so you can get a nice portfolio for your clients to view and also a nice portfolio for you to share elsewhere … on your own networks. So after you finish your profile, it’s then manually reviewed by us and after we see that you are qualified and experienced, your profile will then be approved. Afterwards, once you are approved, you have access to the job board where you can search by different services and location to find any current open jobs that you can start bidding on. We also send out instant notifications to our approved pilots as jobs come in. If you are a pilot in California who does weddings, you can set that up in your profile to be alerted when those types of jobs come through so you can immediately get in touch with the client and continue from there.
Enrico: We know there’s a huge demand for drone pilots out there and we do, as you know, we are getting Section 333 Exemptions for your clients and what we’re really starting to see is a number of business sectors that don’t have a pilot’s license but they’re going to go out and get a Section 333 Exemption and then hire a pilot for each job or hire an independent contractor to go out and do a series of jobs for them, so it really seems like what you’re doing there is going to provide a lot of value. What if I’m a customer and I’m looking for a drone pilot. How does Droners.io help me there?
Dave: As a client, you sign up on the site. It is really easy. You just fill out your email, password, first name, last name, and then you are presented with an easy job form. You can put in a title, a description of the job you are wanting, if you have a budget in mind then you can put that in, if there is a specific date that you need the pilot, for example a wedding, you can select that. Once you post the job then it goes into a pending state where it is reviewed by us. We take a look at it to make sure it is nothing illegal or just plain stupid, which is probably more likely the case. We haven’t gotten anything stupid but we won’t be surprised when it happens given all the stuff in the media. So we look at it and make sure it is good then we approve it. Once it is approved, the notification is then sent out to all the applicable pilots that are interested in working with that client. Within a couple of hours, the client will start receiving messages or perhaps even immediate bids from pilots if they don’t need to gather more information before submitting the bid. The client can then review bids from all the pilots, they can read their reviews, they can look at their portfolio and compare the work the pilots have done. And once they have found a pilot, they hire them by accepting their bid, then the pilot does their job and afterwards the pilot will mark the job as complete and that will send an invoice over to the client and then the client has a week to review the work or if they have any disputation that they need to do then they have some time for that, then the payment is made and the pilot gets paid directly.
Enrico: One of the things I did find interesting about Droners.io was that instead of just being a directory where anyone can upload their profile or what have you, there is at least a level of review that goes on here in order to at least increase the chance that you’re going to make a good match between a client or customer and a drone pilot.
Dave: Absolutely. I think a lot of these marketplaces, the pilot’s time is important. They have work to do, they can’t be on the computer all of the time reading through jobs so it’s a great asset for them to kind of filter out all of the stuff they don’t want to see and make sure that they’re just getting qualified jobs that will produce an income for them and on the flip side, our clients, we don’t want them to be flooded by a bunch of pilots that aren’t able to complete their work professionally or aren’t interested in the type of project that the client wants, so we try to do as much filtering on both sides to make it as best of an experience as possible.
Enrico: As you and I were talking about before the show, Dave, safety is such an important aspect here as we see drone start rolling out into the marketplace commercially for the first time, and we see the FAA regulations that have been proposed under the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and we now have this Section 333 Exemption process to get us from no commercial use to the final FAA regulations in this Section 333 model is kind of the stop gap that the FAA has put in place in order to allow commercial drone flight while we’re waiting for the FAA UAS regulations to be completed. What we all want to see as members of the community is safe flight, right. We want to make sure that the headlines are Drone Saves Boy not Drone Crashes into Commercial Airliner. So looks like you guys are doing a really good job of increasing the chances of safe flight and we commend you for that.
Enrico: I know I saw on your website and I’m hoping to win the DJI Phantom 3 Quadcopter. Is that a promotion that you guys are still doing?
Dave: Yes, we are. All you have to do is sign up. You can sign up as a client of a pilot. It’s free to sign up and you’ll be entered into the drawing. The more people you share it with is another ticket into the bucket so it will increase your chances of winning and we’ll be giving it away towards the middle or the end of November.
Enrico: That’s Droners.io and we are speaking with Dave Brown, the CEO of Droners.io. Dave, I really appreciate you being on the show today.
Dave: Thank you so much. Great to be on here.