The following post was written by DroneBase CEO Dan Burton.
In the past few weeks, we discussed the problem we are working on at DroneBase (there is nothing to do with your drone) and our solution to that problem (giving pilots missions to fly with their drones).
Today, I want to provide some clarity on different mission types and how we think about them.
Professional Drone Missions (also known as "Client Missions") have been the heart of DroneBase since we started in 2014. These are our most challenging, rewarding, and technical missions serving some of the largest enterprises in the world with drone technology. We are proud to have paid DroneBase Pro Pilots millions of dollars to complete these missions in the past 2.5 years, providing one of the best drone payout opportunities available.
I probably spend 80% of my time identifying, qualifying, and closing enterprise customers who can provide a high-volume of high-quality Pro Drone Missions to our pilots. Our entire sales force's #1 mission in life is the same: closing large enterprise customers so we can present attractive drone payout opportunities and at scale to the Pro Pilots in the DroneBase network.
It is always hard to know our exact market share of overall commercial drone flights, but we believe our share is a material and increasingly large percentage of overall flights. However, I am confident that even if we had 100% market share in 2017 (i.e. we found every single Pro Mission opportunity available this year), we would still have pilots contacting us every single day for more missions to fly with their drones.
For this reason, we launched flexible missions in October of 2016. These are missions for pilots willing to fly simple, "anytime" missions that are paid on a royalty basis (in contrast to Pro Missions that have a guaranteed payout). These flexible missions are meant to be as simple and streamlined as possible for pilots, because they can be flown any time provide royalty-based drone payout opportunities.
What have we done so far? We launched Pano Missions in October 2016 (simple real estate missions) and Creative Missions in May 2017 (take a 10-60 second 4k video with your drone, we sell it via the world's premier stock content site).
Regarding flexible missions, I want to provide some feedback and react to your feedback.
First - At the moment, Creative Missions are the most flexible missions with the best drone payout opportunities. If making drone payout opportunities is your primary consideration, send us Creative Mission content. This can be literally any 10-90 second 4K video you have taken with your drone. While our initial theme was for Cityscapes, we are now accepting any 4K drone content. Look for changes to our site reflecting that wider campaign and an even easier way to upload soon. We are in constant contact with our creative partners to identify and communicate to you the best-selling themes of aerial 4k content.
Second - We have heard something loud and clear from our pilot community: you want more clarity around how, when, and why you get paid for Pano Missions. We take your feedback very seriously, even when we can't offer an instant fix. As a result, we have decided to retool Pano Missions and return with more properties, better data on those properties and ideally a guaranteed or higher payout for completed missions. Ideally this update will happen within the next few months, and I will try to be as clear as possible on our timeline. You will still see and can complete Pano Missions on DroneBase, but if drone payout opportunities are your primary consideration, we feel DroneBase Creative Missions are the better option right now.
So, in Q4 2017 and 2018, we will be improving our current flexible missions and introducing entirely new categories of flexible missions.
These new drone payout opportunities will be global, simple, and compelling for our pilots. We value your feedback, we listen to it, and we look forward to an ongoing, vigorous debate with pilots about the most effective way for you to make money from your drone.
In the next few weeks, we will be announcing some exciting new technology to make completing all types of missions even more simple, easy, and fun. I hope you'll join us.
Dan Burton is the CEO and co-founder of DroneBase. Dan served as a Marine Infantry Officer in Iraq and Afghanistan; he now builds and pilots a variety of drone platforms in California. Dan previously worked in Goldman Sachs’ Technology, Media & Telecom group; the US Marine Corps; and the US Senate. He has an MBA from HBS and a BA from NYU.