About them:

NewBeeDrone is a drone technologies developer, who is committed to bringing the best immersion drone flying experience and high-quality products to students, consumers, and enterprises around the world.

They started in 2016 to make the best immersion (first person view) drone for consumers. 

Vision: They have the vision of bringing immersion flying to everyone and utilize it in multiple industries. 

Products:

Their best-selling micro drone, called the AcroBee is the best featured micro-drone in the hobby market. The drone is fundamentally different with the current small/micro drones in the consumer market in the way that we focus on the user experience which includes the immersion, maneuverability, and customization. 

Their Education kit, which will come with an un-assembled AcroBee drone, will allow students to learn basic drone engineering and explore and experience the possibilities that drone can bring to our society. We will be collaborating with local professors in San Diego on curriculum that is applicable in current classroom and student requirements. 

Their upcoming VR-drone kit will be our first step to bring immersion flying into consumer market. It will come with a case with goggles, charger, drone storage, remote, batteries — all in an affordable price. For more info, please visit https://www.newbeelabs.com/vr-drone-kit

Future: 

The current solution is to fly using an analog signal video transmission for flying and adding a GoPro on top for recording the footage. What you see here is the GoPro footage. In the future, we will not need a GoPro and can fly like this.   

If 5G matures and HD low-latency digital video transmission is possible, then we can all fly like this real time:

 

Can you introduce yourself and your company. (The technology behind and your background) 

I am Daryn. I am COO at NewBeeDrone. NewBeeDrone has been around for 3 years. NewBeedrone started more as a hobby than a company but eventually as we were growing, we realized that there were different uses for our drone that were actually applicable and doable. So we decided to start making functional drones that can also be used for education and some sort of other industrial uses. So long story short, this is how we became a company. My friend Kelvin Lee is the CEO & founder of NewBeeDrone. We actually met during college where we used to play in a band together. After sometime we reconnected again through Facebook and he convinced me to join him and here I am. So I can proudly say that I’m the second in charge right now.

What is your business model? 

For now we are kind of like in a transitioning period so we have been trying to make really good products that are durable and people can use it to have fun but they can also use it for other purposes as well. Our company is quite unique. We are among the few American companies that has really really close connections with China’s manufacturing companies. Our company actually has a partnership with a Chinese company that let us have a small team there and because of that we are extremely close with them. This really helps out a lot with our R&D and especially with our manufacturing. We have an office in Shenzhen. So that places also gave you more different sense.  There are a lot of US drone companies. For example 3DR, they have too much of the manufacturing capability but we actually do because we make these drones from China and have them peer. That’s who we are.    

Your company is located in San Diego, California. How did you decide on the location for your business?

So the thing about being in San Diego is because I went to UCSD, college. I met the CEO there although, he went to San Diego State. And then because he was staying here, I came to over here. I went from Silicon Valley, South San Diego again to work at the company. However also a good thing about being in San Diego is throughout the 4 seasons, there’s not a lot of differences when it comes to temperature. So It’s pretty much always sunny here and the winter doesn’t feel cold and summer doesn’t feel hot. so it became a great place for drone companies  because we could fly and experiment and test our product every day. It doesn’t really rain here. So that’s why San Diego is actually a great place for drone companies. It is pretty good for us I would say we kind of just maybe we got lucky that we are in San Diego. Maybe because it’s San Diego that’s how we got into this industry too. Think about it if our drone company right now is in the Midwest or Newyork and when it starts snowing we can’t fly our drones, we can’t go out and we can’t test it well. Also, not all the california area is good for flying drones. There’s somewhere that doesn’t really rain that much. For example, San Francisco might be too cold or rain too much. LA is a great place however LA is very very crowded and it’s hard to find big places that you can test out this drone however in San Diego, there are a lot of open area and the season throughout the year is very mild. There’s not many differences. Year round temperature is pretty much stable so it’s a great place to do drones here. 

Are you planning to expand? To other locations? 

We are currently extending for the markets but not spanning to different location right now. But eventually yes. Right now we are really focus on doing education. Our strongest product is our micro drone. These drones are really really small. These are called ecobee and these drones are really cheap compared to most of drones you probably saw. They are  $100. They are very durable and you can fly them really really well. What we are known for is something called FPV which is First Person View. When you put a goggles onto your face and you will fly the drone through the camera of the drone therefore you feel as if you are one with the drone. You can fly at almost anywhere and then immerse yourself and then a virtual reality kind of space where It’s actually reality. It’s real life. You are flying around you and you are flying in real situation but you are staying in the zone. That’s we are known for and we make really really small tiny drones so you don’t have to fly outside. You can fly it inside so that’s what we are known for in the market. We do this really really well and now we want to expand them because people who are or were using this for the immerse experience start it out wanting to just have fun. They didn’t really think about the uses of drones. They start it out with oh this is really cool. It’s really fun and I just want to experience. Fine. However, we saw that this thing can also be utilized to education institution where students can learn about how drones work and when they are done with learning the drone , they can get inspired by the drone and feel flying with their drones..We thought there’s an opportunity to expand along with the education so that’s where we are focusing on it right now. We are collaborating with local professors in San Diego to develop the curriculum and draw education kids to start pushing out to colleges and also to high schools or they can use it  for schools, classes so they can use it for after school programs. So that’s where we are moving toward right now. 

What’s the difference of your business model from other drone companies? 

Our website is right now is just storefront. I can bring you to another website where you can kind of stick what our drones can do so this is between the drones that we were making right now with a lot of drones in the market, most of drones in the market. For example, DJI. DJI is the best consumer drone right now. The smallest DJI drone is called Tello, which is almost the same size as our drones and around the same price. However Tello drones, they have a lot of sensors whereas we don’t pretty much have any sensor. It sounds as if it were lower technology products but if you really think about it, it’s really about having it in extremely high technology. It’s really about the user experiences. The reason why Tello itself, my personal opinion though, it doesn’t sell that well. It’s because you have to connect it to your phone. But then why would you want to buy $99 phone to connect to your phone if you are a kid. You probably do have a phone to begin with so it’s really hard to utilize it. You effect to sell this to a customer assessment where they don’t even have a tool to play their drone with. At the same time if you want to sell it for education, you can’t take them apart. You learn about coding in your drone. Our drones, it’s not about coding. It’s all about the hardware. That’s where it’s often more different from their drones. For our drones, we can get everything apart. We can give you a drone completely unassembled. You take the frame. You put the modules in. You decide where you are going to put the propeller and which directions because now you learn about Aerodynamics  which way to get a spin so you can propel the aero and fly the drone. You can request different modules and models have different kvs so they spin differently. At the same time we also provide either wood tool if professors and teachers really want to begin different parts of PCP board which of the chips that causes certain things. A program for LED is on it and you can also change the flight characteristics of the drone through the computer and with new product that will come out, you can change it through your app. But the main reason why we want this to work is because the demands are ready. We are providing our drones for $199 but it has a goggles already in it. It will have goggles, drones, and also it has controllers so you actually don’t need a phone. You can just get this for $199 and you can just start flying in ready. You don’t need anything.  

At the same time it’s also a forward immerse experience. When you fly a drone, it’s just feel like they are flying in VR. I don’t think anyone has experience of it because once you start experiencing flying a drone, seeing what the drone sees and flying like it, it’s really hard to go back because I would imagine a lot of people when they were young they all had a dream wanting to fly but they never really fly, but now you can really have an experience of flying just by buying this kit. That’s the fun part of it. Also, our drones are really small and you can get it unassembled. There’s also a  teaching aspect of it. 

Tell me about your team. How many employees do you have? 

We have probably 5-6 in the US. We have CEO. He is primarily a product manager. He knows how to do a product and pushes us a product and research several demands and what we can make. And then there’s me who does all the operation stuff to make sure the company is functioning the way it is and also I do business development things for partnerships with a lot of different companies out there and there is a media person who does social media to make sure our Instagram or Youtube. All these things are reaching out to the right people and trying to make contacts to the people. Then we have a person who does sales. And we have a person who does shipping from our warehouse here. We have a lot of stuff regarding shipping. And another person who does customer services because customers have many questions. We answer to them. So that’s basically our US team for now.

What are the biggest challenges you experienced?

The biggest challenges that we experienced is that first of all there are so many things to do. So many opportunities to do and the company is really easy to get cut off so we don’t know what to focus on and especially when a company is small and growing so fast, it is really easy to get overworked and lose essential directions.

Also, trade work. Trade work is one thing that affects us a little bit because we do manufacturing in China so sometimes when it comes to shipping from China to the US there is a chance that it will be slapped with a big fine because now the tariffs are going to be increased to 25 % if we take it in from China. 

Oh and there’s one more challenges that we are facing right now. There are so many opportunities. We need to see what’s right and what’s wrong. The thing is about the drone industry. For example, people are trying to figure out what is the best drone and how we are going to use them. Everyone in the drone community always asks the same question: How are we going to incorporate different technology into every day’s lives or industrial uses. Oh and there’s  also another challenge I want to add is technical challenges because there’s going to get the rate if you want to do HD transmission. So this is an obstacle that several companies are trying to feel right now and if this is solved then, it will open up completely different new chapter when it comes to FPV drone, first person view drones.

How do you define success?

Success is you can offer a product that can cater to people in demand and at the same time it is 10 times better than the current alternatives. 

Where you see yourself and your business in 5 years or 10 years?

I think AR will be the future with our stuff because right now you are frying to the drone looking at real cameras.  You see real images. However when 5G becomes popular and more mutual and also so when reality becomes more mutual, we can stack their technology onto the image that we are seeing through the goggles so you can fly using more information. It could be more fun. For example you can connect with other people all around the world and then maybe you will fly and see obstacles that are created to your goggles. It can be more real but at the same time it can probably be useful for other uses for example industrial. Now you have HD transmission and its fast enough. You can do better survey by analyzing the image that you are seeing right now flying your drone and better help you understand the area you are looking at. So we are moving more toward that part to incorporate upcoming technology into a new market that people really haven’t thought about.

Is there a restriction by a law flying a drone there?

Our drones are actually small enough to go on through a radar. Our drones are small enough to not be considered as a drone. Our drone is technically much more stapled and swapped not only indoors but outdoors. 

If you were conducting this interview, what question would you ask?

I think i might want to ask something like why do you want to do start up or what makes the company or your product unique that you would believe in so much even when you are facing a lot of adversity. I think those are part of questions that I probably would ask myself. 

Why did you start this business?

The reason why I wanted to do start up is first of all it’s because you kind of want to see the world change a little bit more because of you. You  want to kind of create an impact or if you think you are just an employee or work for other people you are never gonna establish a footprint by the day you die. You are not gonna be known for something. That’s why I desire for one good thing. Financially speaking if you ever want to have something worth just than your salary then the first thing to do is always to start a company. You take the biggest risk but you also get the biggest reward. I think when everyone is young, you should do a startup because when you are young, you have nothing to lose anyway.The choice would be when you are very young or do it when you are old. You don’t want to do it right in the middle when you have a family and you need to pay for your kids to go to school. So I chose the very young solution.   

What makes your product unique that you would believe in so much even when you are facing a lot of adversity?

The thing is I think you really just have to believe in the products that is good. It is so good or at least you can improve it to satisfy a demand that has not been a draft yet. You have to believe in the product  team and the future of this market whereas it is really easy to get burnt out. But ultimately when it comes to doing startup and you want to be successful, I think it’s really all about timing. When the time is right, when your products are pretty much ready for the market when you do it, then you will be successful. Then comes in management. I think management is important but timing is no.1. This is the reason why I think we are all in this thought and then trying to navigate through all the hardships and doing a startup because the market right now is I think we all kind of drones is just getting started so the timing part is right and that’s why we just kept on going even though there are a lot of obstacles. 

What are the things you are looking for to take your business to the next level?

I’m looking for an opportunity to make our drones break into everybody’s daily life. That’s the opportunity I am looking for. It could be for education. It could be for entertainment or it can just be in even surveyrance use. That’s what we are looking for to start an opportunity. That time to be right. For Education, we are pretty much ready for this. Consumer-wise, we are not sure it’s completely ready but we know that there’s gonna be a demander. Industrial-wise, we are still looking at it.