Launching at Vertical Flight Expo 2019 this November, the new Innovation Launchpad – run in partnership with Earlymarket – will showcase the development of vertical flight technologies including helicopters, UAVs, eVTOLS, VTOLS and advanced drone hardware and software. Patrick Wills, co-founder of Earlymarket reveals what attendees can expect and how start-up businesses can get involved.
Can you tell us a bit about Earlymarket? What is your experience within the aviation industry?
Earlymarket is a family office that specialises in identifying high-potential early stage ventures before helping them launch to market. Earlymarket labs incubates start-ups and we take pride in working with passionate entrepreneurs that may not be investment ready today but through our support are able to transition to investable and successful businesses.
As a helicopter pilot, the aviation sector is of interest to me on both on a personal and professional level so I’m always on the look-out for young teams that are bringing something new or innovative to the industry.
Which aviation start-ups have you previously worked with?
We launched Helipaddy a few years ago and this is now a mature, revenue-generating business and highly rewarding to see such high pilot and hotel engagement. Get Heli is our latest aviation investment and went live recently which is nail-biting but exciting.
They operate in completely different areas: Helipaddy is a landing site application for landing site owners to advertise their locations to pilots or drone delivery companies. Get Heli brings the traditional operator/broker marketplace online with the ultimate goal of being able to give live helicopter transport prices.
We were also early investors in Flyt who are providing an easy way for consumers to book flights. And we recently completed a consultancy project for a large well-known US-based company who are looking at expansion opportunities in Europe, and the UK in particular.
What attracted Earlymarket to partner with Vertical Flight Expo?
The aviation industry has undergone significant change over the past few years. My co-founder, Sarah Chenevix-Trench, and I are both helicopter pilots operating under EASA’s rules and therefore take a more conservative approach to air mobility when it comes to investing. While we are excited about the momentum that has developed for passenger drones, we think the community that will attend Vertical will be more discerning than usual. Regulators and rotorcraft associations are all present and we hope the eVTOL sector will spot the opportunity to connect with them.
What can we expect to see at the Innovation Launchpad? What are the benefits to getting involved?
We want to create an interactive platform at the event that demonstrates the innovation that is spearheaded by start-up businesses within the sector. We’re currently speaking to a number of businesses with new eVTOL, VTOL, UAV, drones and software solutions. Attendees will be able to connect with these businesses, see demonstrations, prototypes and hear from keynote speakers, providing insight into the latest innovation and scientific thinking within the field.
For participating companies, it offers an opportunity to gain global exposure to the industry, meet with the leaders of the vertical flight industry and gain exposure to investors.
The Innovation Launchpad will also place a strong focus on networking opportunities to offer start-ups the opportunity to meet with key stakeholders. To facilitate this, we will be hosting a ‘speed networking’ session with potential investors. Details of which will be announced soon.
Is the Innovation Launchpad just for start-ups?
While the focus is on start-up ventures, we welcome more established companies who have new technologies in the field that they’d like to showcase. The goal for the launchpad is to demonstrate and celebrate the most innovative ideas and technologies in vertical flight.
What will the ‘not to miss’ highlight be?
Keynote speakers will include academics and industry specialists as well as members from regulatory bodies such as the CAA. With the industry rapidly changing as drones and UAVs take an increasingly active role in new operations, their insight on the industry and changing regulations will be invaluable. Equally, the networking opportunities are not to be missed.
Anyone attending should definitely come by the Innovation Launchpad which will have some exciting new ideas on display.
What do you think is the most exciting upcoming technology or trend in vertical flight technologies?
Unmanned solutions for medical, government, cargo or military operations is a big area of interest. We’re also confident that we’re reaching a tipping point in the desire for clean energy and we hope to see some interesting technologies addressing the particularly high-power densities needed for aerospace.
The sheer creativity of the start-up community is what excites us. We never know what the next idea to come through the door will be. We look forward to welcoming attendees to join us at the Vertical Flight Expo, meet the entrepreneurs and business owners driving new innovations and discover potential investment opportunities.
If you are an air mobility company and would like to learn more about exhibiting at this year’s Vertical Flight Expo and the new Innovation Zone, please visit https://www.earlymarket.com/innovation-launchpad-vertical-flight.html or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.