Numerous drone startups have funded their development from popular Crowdsourcing sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo. Others use a combination of Press Releases, Social Media and Marketing to obtain preorders for their machines. This article will take a look at many of the most popular such ventures from the past and present.
Running the Gamut – Dreamers, Innovators, DIY’ers and Marketers
Many of the early Crowdsourced drones were simple designs a step up from many of the toy-grade models which most quadcopter pilots started with. Others were more interesting, such as the B Flying Car, which raised about $200,000 (US) in 2013.
Others raised much more – including some which were well over a million dollars. These include Airdog, PlexiDrone, Zano (3.4 Million!). MicroDrone and Hexo+.
The developers of these range from one-person firms (B Flying Car) to larger teams of aerospace, electronic and manufacturing experts.
First Rule of Crowdsourcing and Preordering
Before we delve into the results of some of these popular campaigns, it’s worth reminding the public that there are NO guarantees when it comes to these types of projects. When you fund a crowdsourcing program you are a believer with a certain amount of faith in the project. The project may end up not being delivered at all – or being delivered in a form which doesn’t meet the claims. It may be years late and not backed by spare parts and/or service. The original maker may stop answering your queries and/or fade into oblivion.
In other words, it’s a gamble. You should never invest any money in these projects that you cannot afford to lose. You are not buying a quadcopter/drone but investing in a dream and project. As with most investments a loss of capital ($$) is possible. On the positive end you get to feel as if you are part of a larger project and may obtain the product at a lower price than it will eventually sell for.
Remember – as regards the crowdsourced models you are a Backer not a Purchaser.