Please introduce yourself (any co-founders) and your startup?
Skyotor was founded by Melissa in Sydney, Australia. Skyotor is a marketplace for drone pilots to sell their services. Customers can browse pilot services, purchase and book the service they want and leave a review afterwards.
There are many drone services that can be offered on Skyotor, for example:
- Aerial photography and video
- Agriculture and building inspections
- Surveying, mapping and more.
- Weddings, events and real estate.
Skyotor is a one stop shop for drone pilots and people wanting the services offered by drones. Skyotor is the first of its kind in Australia.
How did you go from idea, to MVP and launch?
The opportunity for Skyotor came about when I identified a market gap for offering drone services to the general public. Most drone operators are small business operating full-time or part-time, they would rely on word of mouth otherwise invest in marketing.
Skyotor closes the gap and provides drone pilots a functional marketplace that covers their business needs and provides them with an additional revenue stream.
Tthey further benefit from Skyotor as they would not need large investment in marketing or websites as Skyotor covers this. At the same time, the gap is closed for people wanting to purchase the services offered by drone pilots, and Skyotor is the one place for them to browse pilot profiles.
Skyotor was implemented using an agile approach, this controlled cost and speed to market. This model is proving successful with key indicators be interest both local and international and the on-boarding of pilots who have established Skyotor profiles with their services on offer.
What challenges did you face during this period and how did you overcome them?
Skyotor’s biggest challenge was trust. The drone industry is still growing and there is a lot of government aviation regulation (CASA) about flying drones. Experienced drone pilots fear the industry being tarnished by non-certified pilots offering services.
Skyotor has built in mandatory indicators where pilots needs to disclose certification or specification about their drone. This allows me to collect that information to determine whether or not the pilots are offering genuine services. Skyotor’s baseline ideology is a quality service, although Skyotor is a marketplace medium, it’s important for me to ensure that Skyotor is not a place for anyone with a drone to sell their services.
The integrity of Skyotor must align with the regulation to ensure that only pilots working within the parameters of regulations are selling their service. I’m confident that Skyotor has launched that way and will continue to grow that way.
During this journey to build and launch your startup what is one thing you look back on with a sense of achievement?
Going out directly to drone pilots and inviting them to the Skyotor platform. It was not easy to do (and still isn’t). I was thrilled when I had my first sign up!
Offer us one insight, tip, marketing strategy or growth hack that has worked really well for you and your startup?
Implementing agile, in other words, implement the minimal concept and whilst refining the product, start on-boarding customers. Each customer has been responsive. Another tip is being transparent, there is nothing worse than businesses being elusive with their pitch to customers.
How is your startup going and what do you aim to achieve in the next 3, 6, 12 months?
Skyotor is 3 months young, there is much to do. In the next 3 months, focus is on balancing the growth of pilots and buyers (business-to-customer ratio). At the 6 month mark I will be seeking out funding, I currently have a number of strategies, but that’s a discussion for another time and after I have done (or tried) them! At the 1 year mark, I aim for Skyotor to be known as Australia’s leading drone services marketplace.