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A Q/A with Skyy Network
Company HQ: Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia
Team Size: 12
Focus: Automated drone traffic management
Tell me a little about Skyy Network?
Skyy Network is offering a drone traffic management solution that will allow seamless automated coordination between all drones before and during flight, while giving authorities full, live, visibility on what is happening in the sky. We are a company with a massive transformative purpose; to help fill the skies with rivers of drones, bringing to life a new economy: the drone economy, within a decade. Those rivers will lift traffic of goods and, in time, people off the ground.
Our technology will reduce congestion and pollution in our cities, making city life healthier and happier. The drone economy will allow the flourishing of new business models: parcel delivery, grocery delivery, meal delivery, in addition to data economy services that can be better provided or supported from the air: inspection and monitoring, search and rescue, photogrammetry, precision agriculture.
Can you expand on what problem you're solving?
Let your mind wander to those drone rivers, the skyways of the future filled with economic lifeblood. For them to ever exist, public and governments will require three vital conditions to be met without a shadow of a doubt: safety, security, accountability. You cannot allow ‘things’ to fly in your airspace, particularly above millions of people, without knowing for sure that they will not hit each other in the air, fall on people or property, carry dangerous payloads, or behave irresponsibly in any other way. Also, access must be fair: space is a limited resource, and you must make sure nobody is being economically bullied up there. Skyy Network is offering the drone traffic management solution that will allow seamless automated coordination between all drones before and during flight, while giving authorities full, live, visibility on what is happening in the sky.
Traditional air traffic management cannot physically, technically and economically deal with high density drone traffic. Governments and service suppliers on the market are currently struggling to find a solution that is scalable, fair, and solves all issues of trust and collective coordination between drones in the sky. It’s a bit of a hen and egg problem: how to build trust and market share at the same time between competing actors in their technical and economic infancy? In other words, who is the referee? Skyy Network has a blockchain-based solution that makes each and every actor in the network the referee of the entire network in a technologically infallible way. Thus, the network no longer needs a third-party referee: all action in it is at the same time individual and collective, and trust is provided by radical transparency coded into the shared rulebook applied by all the drone fleet managers (nodes) at once. So much so that disagreeing with the network is disagreeing with yourself! The rulebook includes government-imposed constraints such as no-fly-zones, priority rules such as ‘emergency helicopter has priority over delivery drone’, who-goes-first rules for drones, path re-allocation when that is needed. All happening in automated fashion!
Who are your customers?
We’re dealing with our market in two stages: first helping create it, then thriving in it. The initial customers are governments and their agencies charged with air and/or drone traffic management. Then, we have the ambition to become one of the largest drone fleet managers in every major city and country around the world. In that latter stage, which we believe will see explosive growth over a very short period of time, we are going to build an exponential organization, i.e. an organization leveraging outside resources to grow quickly and efficiently.
How would you describe your team?
We're used to high altitude. We have all built and achieved stuff in life. Each founder has a huge opportunity cost on their time, energy, and network. The Skyy team will move quickly and achieve.
What phase is your company at right now?
We've spent recent months expanding our engineering and product teams to accelerate development of our core networking technology to be demonstrated in an operational setting in August. We have also been leading the development of a world class collaboration of companies planning to launch a commercial long term medical delivery project in partnership with a leading university specializing in the field of Drone Traffic Management. More recently, we have been engaging with numerous potential customers, as well as strategic visionary partners such as Salim Ismail, founder of the Singularity University.
What excites you about GENIUS NY?
A lot. The team is so incredibly helpful. While extremely keen to bring opportunity to Central New York, Genius NY is so open-minded about the realities of the rest of the world, and the specific needs of each team!
Every one-to-one, every discussion is geared towards helping Skyy Network move towards success: achieving strategic clarity, communicating better, building the right network in Syracuse and beyond. We were always able to share ups and downs, changes, hope and doubt. Networking with other Genius teams, current and past cohorts, is also very useful. Clearly Genius is here to steer us towards success, with clarity of purpose, generosity and professionalism. We feel Genius is becoming our genius period, when things have taken shape and Skyy has truly taken off.
Have things changed or pivoted with COVID-19?
Yes. And overall for the better. We were held back to some extent in our direct face-to-face engagements with our potential customers. But we adapted, continued and expanded those discussions nevertheless, especially in Albania, Greece, Kosovo, Romania, and Thailand. We could also focus time, energy and resources on developing our MVP and refining our strategy. We also began remotely strengthening relationships with potential investors, in Singapore and the US. We recruited new talent, in Syracuse and Australia. We reinforced the team with a new partner, Lucian Despoiu, founder and majority owner of Majoritas Group, a successful global digital political and marketing consultancy with an amazing network throughout the world.
On the broader, market, picture, this unfortunate crisis has brought Skyy opportunity by making our vision more needed than ever. Logistics will be changed forever, with shorter supply chains and smaller, more numerous, logistics hubs distributed closer to consumers. The already existing trend of less social contact in retail by digital natives is being reinforced. Last mile delivery by drone to garden or rooftop airpads, with inherent social distancing, will become standard faster. So will revenue models whereby machines produce revenue for individuals with little direct intervention. A saver will be able to put their money to work by buying a drone and let it generate micro-payments for each job carried out in an automated network. Skyy is making this paradigm shift possible and will be a key player in it.
How are you keeping your team motivated during COVID-19?
Everybody is focused and motivated because we have a vision with a truly transformative impact, the right product for it, the right contacts, and the world is coming our way. We also motivate people by making them feel part of a great project and family, and always being reasonable and sensible. So, Skyy is a great protective bubble from the ugliness of COVID-19, based on a dream worth dreaming.
How can Central New York benefit from Skyy Network?
It is beyond doubt that the drone economy will be an important part of the economic model of the future. We have the necessary grit to ensure Skyy Network plays a systemic, foundational role, in that economy. Genius NY came to our side when our idea was still in the bud. As we achieve success, we are committed to give back to Central New York. As we grow into a global company, we will always maintain and grow our local footprint in Syracuse and Central New York. We have already had a great start with young software engineers from Syracuse University.
How would you use the $1M grand prize if you won it?
Besides continuing our investments in developing the technology, and boosting marketing and sales, we would organize a major business event for the nascent drone industry and the entire ecosystem surrounding it in Syracuse next year (2021), back-to-back with a demonstration of the by then mature Skyy Network system on a significant scale. Our technology is placing us as a natural meeting and concertation point of the industry.
GENIUS NY Finals Night is Sept. 17. Finals Night will include all five finalists pitching for the grand prize of $1M. More information coming soon!