DroneBase CEO on Missions & Drone Payout Opportunities

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 Headshot (1)

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.



34 thoughts on “DroneBase CEO on Missions & Drone Payout Opportunities

  1. Great Job? One question regarding Creative Missions, could you expand on Creative Missions (Examples) Beach,Lake Video is that what they mean by creative.


    1. Hi Walter, that’s a great question! Right now, our featured “Creative Mission” for Getty Images calls for cityscapes: interesting, creative 4K video of city structures near you. You don’t have to live in a big city like New York or Los Angeles to participate, either – we’re looking for all types of cities, all around the world! We hope this helps, and please let us know if you have any more questions!


  2. Thank you for the update and the missions! I am looking forward to the update about re-defining creative missions. I received the e-mail about testing the new beta version of the DroneBase app and signed up for it. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you Dronebase I am appreciative for an opportunity and look forward to future endeavors together. If you would like help with the beta version please let me know.


  4. Thanks for the update. I really like what you are doing and I sincerely hope you succeed in your quest so we can succeed in ours. Keep up the good work!!


  5. Quick question on the creative missions. Prior to passing along to Drone Deploy, should we be post processing our D-Log videos prior to submitting them, or is the color and video quality tweaked after our submission?


  6. Thank you for this information. It clarifies things and has made me feel more positive towards the future with DroneBase.

    One question: Do you want the Cityscape missions to be at night or twilight only or is daytime OK?


    1. Hi there! That’s correct: we’re working on improving our Pano Missions and finding a relevant partner that will allow for a higher likelihood of payout for our Pilots. As such, Pano Missions have been removed from the app (and eventually the Pilot Dashboard). We recommend flying Getty Missions in the meantime – they’re a great way to gain experience and have a high likelihood of payout!


  7. The website reads: “Look out for available missions
    Sit tight! We’ll reach out to you as soon as we’ve got a mission in your area.
    Ready to fly? Start your first training mission now.”

    How do you do the training missions please?


  8. Out of all the bad pilots bashed you guys, I stuck it out. This is new territory and it takes time to get it done right. We all knew the likelihood of payout. Im glad that this company is looking strong for the future. I have had many jobs and flying these missions are the best job I have had. I haven’t felt good about a days work in a while. Nore like punching the clock. This is my new career. I always knew photography was my future. Just didn’t think it would be flying drones. Thanks again for the update.


    1. Rae, thank you for teaming up with us. We appreciate your continued support, and are thrilled to hear that drone piloting is the right career for you. Thanks again for stopping by, and we’ll see you in the skies!


  9. I haven’t received any Client Missions since December, but just talked to someone in my area that was offered one today. Is there anything we need to check-on to make sure we are “Active”?


  10. I have accepted and completed two guarantee payout client missions in the past couple of weeks, both of which were 8 still images of residential real estate properties. Will these missions still be available ?


    1. Hey Christian, absolutely! Guaranteed payout Missions (aka “Client Missions”) will always be available on an as-needed basis and may fluctuate based on weather conditions. For example, a large hail storm would create a large and immediate need for aerial roof inspections. We hope that makes sense!


  11. I have recently passed my part 107. I have yet to receive my certificate number. Can I fly mission under my temporary authorization?


  12. I recently had several betty missions rejected for “content ” After viewing the guidelines I am still unsure exactly why it was rejected. Could you be a little more specific on the reason? This would benefit you and the pilot.


  13. Hello, a couple weeks ago I started my first two pano missions. I went off of the direction of the instructional youtube video rather than the instructions on the page. Found out that I shot footage at angles (horizon, 60 degrees, and straight down) when should have shot 30′ 60′ 90′ and straight down. I wanted to shoot the photos again today but am having trouble finding the missions to activate. I remember it being quite easy to find them before so I am needing help understanding.


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