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DivviMap wants to turn drone data into powerful insights

divvimap_from_left_Sebastian_Blandon_and_Justin_Kyser

DivviMap’s Sebastian Blandon and Justin Kyser. Photo by Jess Sodeke.

The drone economy is taking flight, but the data drones provide remain a challenge for farmers and contractors.

Enter DivviMap, one of the startups in this year’s NMotion Accelerator cohort. Silicon Prairie News spoke with Sebastian Blandon, DivviMap CTO, about their solution to the problem of drone data.

“Our founder and CEO, Justin Kyser, found huge gaps that drone companies have to provide the files they need to their clients,” Blandon said. “We process the files to make them viable for farmers to use.”

When drones map farmland or construction sites, they create GeoTIFF files that are very large.

“Really, really huge files,” Blandon said. “We process them so farmers can know exactly what’s going on in the field, and they can download the files on mobile devices with limited service like 3G.”

DivviMap provides software solutions that make running a drone mapping business easier, expanding the number of customers that can be served and improving profitability.

“But we’re not a drone company, we’re a software company,” Blandon said. “We don’t collect and process images as much as the data behind the images.”

First customers

So who makes up DivviMap’s customer base?

“We have two types of customers,” Blandon said. “One is the drone company that does the mapping. The other is the farmer or construction manager that uses the data. We’re an intermediary and support both sets of users.”

Besides providing usable data from drone companies to farmers and other customers, DivviMap also provides useful business intelligence.

“We convert pictures from drone providers that are usable by farmers, and provide user data, like the number of times a file is opened, back to the provider,” Blandon said.

DivviMap launched an alpha in mid-April with 45 testers, mostly outside the U.S.

“A lot of them are in Chile, Brazil, South Africa, England and Canada,” Blandon said. “Those countries are more open to drone operation.

But as the Federal Aviation Administration creates the regulatory environment for drone operators in the U.S., Blandon sees a big opportunity.

“We’re opening a really new market that is huge,” Blandon said. “By next week we hope to launch a beta with around 9 companies who say they want to test with us.”

Accelerating experience

This isn’t the first startup for either Blandon or Kyser.  Blandon started a software development company called Beaver Tech, and Kyser co-founded Digital Sky, a drone company.

“Justin came to me with the idea for DivviMap and asked if we could build it,” Blandon said. “That’s how we met.”

What has their NMotion experience been like so far?

“It’s kind of cool because it’s a really fast process,” Blandon said. “We’ve had really good help with marketing and our business plan.”

And it’s very challenging.

“Something changes each week,” Blandon said. “Client feedback can result in a drastic change that has to be made immediately. People expect speed from a startup.”

What about the mentor network?

“The mentors are really valuable because they’re people that have not only been successful in business, but also in a personal way,” Blandon said. “They want to bring their experience.”

Experience is very valuable to the DivviMap team. Kyser recently graduated from University of Nebraska at Lincoln and Blandon is still a student at Nebraska Wesleyan.

“The mentors might tell us ‘you guys are getting behind’ or going too fast,” Blandon said. “They bring that experience, which is great because we don’t have any experience.”

“But they don’t bring us flowers,” he added.

Rod Armstrong is Vice President of Strategic Partnerships for AIM in Lincoln, Nebraska. He is a regular contributor to Silicon Prairie News.

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