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"You have all these very nice drones that can do many things, but in reality they don’t have significant endurance in terms of their flight times. We think that we have solved that equation."
A quick Q/A with Miguel Dupret, Business Development and Project Manager at Sentient Blue.
Hometown: Lisbon, Portugal
Company HQ: Parma, Italy
Team Size: 10
Focus: Hybrid Power Systems for Drone Platforms
Describe your team.
Our team is Formula One. Everything moves at a very fast speed and we have this approach of competition and everything is due yesterday mentality. On top of that, the team is constituted of very skilled individuals, very skilled technical individuals in their fields of expertise. We have 20+ years' experience with Formula One, 20+ years' experience with aerospace, and 20+ years' with gas turbines.
Talk to me about your company.
We think that there’s a problem in the current drone market and we’ve solved the equation to actually address it. Existing drones are powered by lithium batteries, with limited in endurance especially in cold temperatures. This actually impacts the drones flight-cycle. It means you have all these very nice drones that can do many things, but in reality they don’t have significant endurance in terms of their flight times. So we think that we have solved that equation.
We can significantly increase the flight-time of these drones to four to five hours in some cases and we think this is going to be a significant asset to anyone out there that has operational activities to do with a drone.
So, having said that, we went through our network of contacts. We put together a very robust team, and we are coming to the market in 2019 with a very solid product, with a very technical background, but also with a very interesting concept and idea.
Who are your customers?
We want to do a B2B business, so we want to sell drones to companies that have drone platforms. With our size, we are not focused in delivering complete drones to people that operate from their homes.
Why are you excited for GENIUS NY?
We are excited about GENIUS NY because it is a perfect match. There’s a very significant market that we want to enter, the defense market. There’s also a very significant market where we think we have a good chance, in the commercial and also in the hobby segment. These markets are huge in United States and we definitely need to be here.
Having the opportunity through GENIUS NY to actually come to the United States, and establish over here is huge. We would be doing this anyway. Having the opportunity to do this with GENIUS NY, it’s a dream come true, as simple as that. If we were not selected, you’d still have to put up with us because we were coming anyway!
First impressions of Syracuse?
So, Syracuse has a lot of snow! But it is a very friendly community. I like to integrate myself very fast, so I’ve enrolled myself in the YMCA gym, and I visit every day. So, if you want to meet me, come every day at 6AM. I’ll be there!
There’s also additional projects that I am locally developing over here. I started attending the capoeira classes, and they actually asked me if I could do some of the training's. I also recently had a meeting at the MOST, the museum for science. They'd like to do something with drones and maybe use our technology.
I am very impressed with how the GENIUS program is actually connected with the downtown development. You have a very organized interaction between all these different institutions, and I can feel that. I can feel it when the people speak with us. I can feel that when I’m out in the street and I speak that I am one of these, uh, geniuses in the Tech Garden, and they say, ‘Yes, we know exactly what it is.' And to be fair, all this cold is actually a very warm feeling.
How many drones do you own?
Zero. It’s the same thing like, uh, I came to university to study aerospace engineering and the guys say, ‘Ah, you want to be a pilot? You know everything about airplanes?’ And I say, ‘I’m here because I know nothing about airplanes.'
Why should I have drones? My passion is for people and procedures, and very much social systems. So, creating a start-up is a social system. There’s someone with an idea, there’s someone with the money, there’s someone with the problem. How do we put this together? My passion is for solving problems and we are doing it with drones. I’d be as excited if we were doing boats or if we were doing cars. It just happens to be that I am an aerospace engineer, so it makes sense to talk about drones, but if you give me another piece of technology, put it in a social system, I’ll be really motivated.
What would you do with the $1 million grand prize?
The answer is actually very easy. We are talking about manufacturing. We would simply accelerate the process of creating local jobs. The industry needs this type of solution.
There are other competitors out there. There are other solutions. I’m not being pretentious to say that we have the only solution. But we are a solution, and we are pretty good and pretty robust. And when you have a start-up, it’s about time to market. So, having a million would actually allow us to fulfill our business plan in the sense that it will help us secure jobs faster, and it will help us proceed with the manufacturing plans faster.
To learn more about Sentient Blue visit www.sentientblue.com. Watch them pitch for the $1 Million grand prize on April 9 at the Marriott Syracuse Downtown. Get your ticket here.