Located in the heart of Round Rock is a company that sees the future of technology in action literally every day. Drone Dispatch is a nationwide on-demand drone service offering customized drone applications including photography, videography, surveying, mapping, and numerous others. Chris Bonnet, one of the founders, formerly worked as a real-estate agent with a side business in online marketing. As the sole parent of a young child, he supplemented his income by providing services to companies, including the building of websites and helping the businesses strengthen their online presence.
One day, as Chris analyzed different ways to provide footage of a five-acre property for clients, he thought about using a drone. After publishing the original footage online, he continued to use drones to provide aerial views of real estate, and this innovative method was noticed by others. Soon, he had multiple requests from other agents to provide footage of their properties. After reaching out to high school friends for help to fill the requests, Chris and his friends began to realize the increasing need for drone services, as well as future applications, and the inspiration to start their own company took hold. Today, Drone Dispatch works with a nationwide pilot network of over 1,000 certified drone pilots completing missions on an as-needed basis. When a mission is received, Chris and his partners set up the details, including checking the local airspace restrictions and weather forecast, before dispatching the mission to pilots in the network. Once the mission is complete and the footage is received, Chris and his partners edit, process, and create the final product for their clients.
The use of drones crosses over into all fields, both public and private, from commercial real estate to oil field companies. Besides saving companies time and money, the use of drones also reduces the risk to company employees in certain situations. For example, drones are able to check on pumps that might be located in remote areas at a much lower cost than sending out employees into the field or to inspect tower lights that are located hundreds of feet in the air. Chris sees the use of drones becoming a part of our everyday lives and increasing exponentially each year. Chris noted that current research indicates that by 2021, the drone business will be a billion-dollar industry.
Chris and his co-founders relied on their existing skills and knowledge, as well as extensive research, to start their first drone company. As the company rebranded over the years, they learned from others in their field and community, and attribute networking opportunities as instrumental to their continued success. Family support was also an important factor, especially for Chris, as he relied on his parents to help provide care for his young daughter when he needed to attend work-related events. Today, in order to stay on top of industry changes, Chris and his partners frequently attend conferences and are eager to share in talk of the future and drone applications.
While Chris and his partners would like to eventually branch out internationally, they are focused on building their company customer base first. When asked to share advice that would help other entrepreneurs on their journey, Chris expressed the importance of knowing that they will fail, and often, but use those times to really learn and move forward. Also, the road to success will be bumpy, but if you start something you truly love, then you’ll wake up each morning excited about your day and the potential to change the world.