Following Telstra Ventures’ recent investment, Cape CEO Chris Rittler reflects on the company’s journey to date and the opportunities presented by the commercial applications of drones.
In 2014 the founding of Cape Productions was met with great excitement from consumers, enterprises, analysts and, most importantly, snow enthusiasts.
We developed software that allowed for the safe production of ski videos via automated flight of off-the-shelf drones. If you skied at some of the top resorts in North America, you could pay between $US50 and $US150 to have a custom ski video made of you or your family.
For an encore, we enhanced our technology and created a public flying portal. Using this portal, any consumer could register to fly a drone equipped with Cape software over the internet via a web browser from their personal computer in the comfort of their own home to have a personal video experience like none other.
We went further and integrated our drone video technology with the Facebook Live API to live stream high-quality aerial video directly to Facebook, which was demonstrated during the lead-up to Mark Zuckerberg’s opening keynote address at the Facebook F8 summit in 2016.
Tens of thousands of users registered to fly drones and over 100,000 flights were successfully executed. Safe drone flight and usability of drones had enabled a mass market. We have continued to develop our innovative system since that point.
Customers are now using off-the-shelf drones connected to the Cape Cloud via the Cape App to fly drones remotely over the internet, increasing the effectiveness of their teams by utilising the safety features and ease-of-use offered by Cape Aerial TelepresenceTM. Use cases include construction, asset inspection, and public safety, with more being added every day.
Our investors believe that the commercial adoption of drones will increase dramatically with the usage of Cape software. Telstra Ventures invested in Cape’s Series A financing alongside two other investors, Google’s Gradient Ventures and Mitsui & Co.
We have identified Australia as a country that would benefit from the use of drones across a number of industrial and government verticals. Telstra Ventures has closely followed developments in drone technology based on feedback from customers regarding their desire to use drones, as well as our own drones program – including using drone technology to inspect some of Telstra’s many cell towers and structures.