LightSpeed Innovations says it has produced the first-ever drone pitch event, which took place at the International Drone Expo (IDE) in Los Angeles on Dec. 11.
The IDE 2015 Drone Pitch Competition, open to anyone domestically and internationally who is building a business involving unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), encourages entrepreneurship, small-business growth and innovation in the UAV sector, says LightSpeed. The three categories of entry were hardware, software and maintenance/services.
Judges included representatives from some of the venture capitalists that fund this market segment, including Qualcomm Ventures, Lux Capital, AECOM and Booz Allen. Others who were part of the judging panel included AirMap, Port Tech LA, Pasadena Angels and Wharton Angels. Other present companies included Apellix, Avision Systems, Just Innovations, Qelzal and SIC Drones.
From a total of over 20 entries, Austin, Texas-based start-up Aerial Productions, a social venture and drone services company, took first place and competed with five other companies that pitched at the event. Awards and prizes equaling $150,000, as well as a 12-week drone accelerator program from LightSpeed, were given to the top three winners.
“The pitch competition was an opportunity for us to take our idea in front of some of the drone industry’s most knowledgeable people,” says Anthony Mowl, co-founder of Aerial Productions, who delivered the pitch. “Winning entry to the LightSpeed accelerator program is huge, and we look forward to having the mentoring and support to turn our idea into reality.”
Ellen Chang, co-founder and managing partner of LightSpeed, explains, “We collaborate to produce these pitch events in order to provide opportunities to some of the great entrepreneurs developing key technologies. Our mission is to grow and sustain the aerospace entrepreneurial ecosystem.”