As a founder of a drone startup, I’ve realized that focusing on the full-stack is not only one of our key differentiators, it’s the biggest driver of our success. “Full-stack” means developing all the critical software and hardware systems, and delivering an integrated solution that actually works and that customers can use to solve problems. I know this sounds obvious, but it’s not, and it is a real competitive advantage.
Commercial Drone Market
A little background. The consumer drone industry already exploded, and the commercial drone industry is well on its way, but it’s still young. Like a lot of new markets, the industry doesn’t have an established supplier ecosystem for software, hardware, or analytics that is stable or reliable. We’ve watched other drone startups focus on just the hardware or just the software, and both approaches have struggled to deliver a truly great product.
Drone hardware companies are not close enough to respond to feedback on customer business requirements. Meanwhile, drone software companies rely on off-the-shelf consumer hardware that they can’t customize or scale well enough to meet customer needs. Almost all rely on the customer to learn new skills and invest time and energy in figuring out how to use the darn things. The true value of drones in construction, insurance, or any industry is in their ability to seamlessly provide information. Anything besides actionable business information is just noise, and extra work.
Therefore, the best commercial drone solution is one that gets the customer from nothing to usable information with the least amount of time and effort. With Kespry drones, customers don’t have to do much more than push a button and then view the results and information.
The Full-Stack Approach
We are finding that maintaining an obsessive focus on building a complete and fully-integrated product has paid off by putting us in a leading market position. Our customers use Kespry drones a lot, significantly more than 100 times per year. All of this usage creates terabytes of valuable operational industrial data, which gives our customers a unique and powerful look into their businesses, and also gives us the inputs to create much better products.
At the heart of this success is the full-stack approach. You often see this approach in companies that want to provide a truly great product experience, especially if it’s meaningfully different from how other companies are doing business. It’s why Apple designs and makes its own hardware and software, and it’s why Tesla does not use a dealer network to sell its cars.
At Kespry, we don’t rely on any other company to provide a piece of our product unless it’s perfectly suited to our mission. If it doesn’t exist, we design it. Our mechanical engineering team designs the airframe around our electrical engineering team’s flight computer system so the software team can build anything on both RTOS and Linux. Kespry’s customers ultimately need high-fidelity operational data, so we also build the data storage, processing, and visualization infrastructure and tools for the massive dataset which grows bigger by the hour.
The benefits of full-stack thinking can be huge. We design the best solutions for our customers’ specific problems, and own the entire product and its performance. This allows us to rapidly improve our product and at the end of the day, what we deliver to our customers works beautifully.
Being a full-stack organization makes for a unique company culture. The Kespry team has a wide range of skills and backgrounds, which we integrate to deliver a product that meets our standards and embodies our vision.
This is different from most startups, but we’ve assembled an exceptional team, in part because working on the full-stack is just so interesting. The appeal of delivering a truly uncompromised, end-to-end experience is powerful, and it resonates with a certain type of person. We are constantly building our team with these extraordinary people as we continue to design world-class products and expand into new markets.
In 2013, Paul combined his passion for Aerospace and Computer Science by founding Kespry. Kespry is the leading commercial drone and data intelligence provider, offering the most advanced product on the market. Industrial firms all over the world are using Kespry to track inventory, monitor progress, and more efficiently run their businesses.
From 2010 to 2013, Paul worked at the BMW Group Technology Office USA where he spearheaded BMW’s first 3rd party service integrations including Pandora Radio, and led the team that created BMW M Laptimer. In 2010, Paul graduated with a B.S. in Computer Science from Stanford University.