What’s the inspiration behind starting Edgybees?
One of my co-founders, Menashe, and I have been long-time friends and neighbors. A few years ago, he was managing the Amazon Prime Air drone team in Israel and convinced me to buy a DJI Phantom drone. It was purely recreational, but as it gradually grew a bit boring, I began racing it in faster and riskier circumstances. It was when Menashe pointed out the dangers of real-life obstacles, such as trees, that we started thinking about the creation of virtual obstacle courses. This idea quickly revealed a whole host of complex problems – exactly the kind of problems we were keen to begin solving. We had both started and exited a number of technology startups, and it came naturally to us to productize technology solutions. A few months later, this became the basis for the Edgybees AR platform. Truly, it was inspired by the desire to create a technology-centric, fun game for drone pilots to compete with one another around the world. The game itself was downloaded and used by drone pilots worldwide, and was quite successful.
How is Edgybees helping first responders and commercial drone companies bring out new services and solutions?
Edgybees enables developers to create realistic, immersive experiences that layer three-dimensional visuals over live video from fast-moving cameras. Its patent-pending algorithms data streams from cameras mounted on cars, aerial platforms, or body-worn accessories and can maintain virtual overlays locked against the real world. Edgybees’ First Response is a drone-flying application being used by emergency responders to orient themselves in confusing environments and to better track rapidly evolving circumstances. The technology is particularly effective in search and rescue expeditions, and tactical missions such as house fires and wildfires. This is a new technology for drone companies, as up until now, they primarily used post processing 3D mapping. The drone flying application was first used by officials operating in the Florida Keys during the aftermath of Hurricane Irma last September, where they leveraged mapping overlays to identify distress calls in flooded areas. First Response was most recently used last October by local authorities to keep firemen out of harm’s way, during the Northern California fires.
What kind of business impact are your customers seeing today by working with Edgybees?
For us, business impact is all about ensuring operators can execute critical missions with minimal distraction and maximal situational awareness. This could be a police incident commander using overlays to quickly see which officer within a crowd of protesters is closest to break up a fight, or it could be an emergency inspection at an oilrig past dusk where pilots can use overlays to guide them around the rig in the black of night. The secondary, less mission-critical applications are also incredibly powerful. As we advance the state-of-the-art technology assisting unmanned aerial system (UAS) operators in such critical circumstances, we are also enabling a whole host of future applications for media and entertainment. We imagine breathtaking drone-based panning shots of professional sports games with players’ names hovering above their heads, or more drone-based racing games. The ways this platform can be used are endless.
In your experience, what’s the best way to work with investors when raising a round of funding as an Israel company?
Simultaneously raising funds and starting a company is challenging. The best way to raise money is to work with investors to find a product that is a “must have” versus a “nice to have.” The usage of our technology during Hurricane Irma showed that our tech is a must have.
What’s next for Edgybees?
The plan is to expand our real time augmented reality (AR) technology to additional verticals including defense, smart cities, automotive, and broadcast media, not to mention CCTV and body cameras. We are also expanding the depth and breadth of the platform to allow millions of developers to build on top of our platform.