What’s the inspiration behind starting SkyWatch?
We started SkyWatch back in 2016. Ori Blumenthal, Ronny Ahituv and myself met at the prestigious “Talpiot” program at the Israeli Air Force Academy, and we had a great initial connection. We all shared passion for flying and drones, and we’re all geeks that love solving complex issues by using data analytics. The bond was immediate.
We started playing around with the idea of using software telemetry to measure how safe drone operators fly. As we invested more time into the project, we started talking to other drone operators, reading more industry news and publications, and we saw that there was a real pain around this emerging industry - regulation was becoming more complex, mostly due to fear over safety issues.
We saw a clear opportunity to use our knowledge and expertise to create a clear “safety score” that helps operators know how well they fly - and as soon as we had a prototype we realized that the implications for the industry can be vast. That’s when we decided to commit to building the SkyWatch platform.
What makes SkyWatch different?
Our mantra is “we’ve got you covered” - and we plan to live by it. We believe that SkyWatch’s platform gives operators a holistic, one-stop solution to manage their flight safety - from pre-flight checks and planning, to real-time hazard warning during flight using the drone’s telemetry, and up to post-flight analytics - all geared towards empowering operators to be aware of safety risks and to be able to improve how they plan and execute flight jobs.
How will SkyWatch change the safety standard for the drone industry?
One of the biggest growth blockers of the drone industry today is regulation. Our perspective is that regulation is crucial for growth. However, it can be improved and streamlined to be more accessible so it lowers the entry bar instead of setting it higher.
That being said, the main reason that regulation is so harsh is safety concerns. As the bar lowers more operators come into play that are not aware of safety and how crucial it is to maintain it, not only for their sake but for the industry’s sake as well.
SkyWatch aims to change this. Our proprietary “safety score” can be used to set an industry benchmark for operators, who will be more aware of how they fly, and will be able to improve their score as they practice better, safer flights.
As more pilots improve their score, this can have a tremendous effect on the industry - improving overall perception of drones as a safe tool can enable regulators to lower the bar and open the skies to more operators, thus expanding this already amazing emerging market opportunity.
In your experience, what’s the best way to work with investors when raising a new round of funding as an Israeli company?
It’s crucial to look at investors as a part of the team. They are not just investing money - their expertise and opinions are important, and there must be a match of vision between the founders and the investors.
You also need to have a strong team, a good product and a real vision that gives value - something that sets you apart from the competition. When you have those, it’s really all about finding a investor that believes in your core values and in your capability as an entrepreneur to execute, and get them excited and on-board.
What’s next for SkyWatch?
We are working diligently on joint ventures with major insurance companies to offer unique telematics-based, on-demand insurance products for drones based on our risk analysis. Some of these partnerships will be announced soon.
In general, we receive a lot of in-bound interest from the insurance industry and we see this as a great vote of confidence for the benefits and effectiveness of our platform.
Moving forward, we will be looking to enhance our platform capabilities in order to offer more and more services for drone service providers, ensuring "we've got you covered” for all needs not only safety/insurance.