Drones are taking on more and more tasks and will soon be an essential part of everyday life. These small flying machines can do much more than just deliver packages or take beautiful video recordings. The drone industry is booming: By 2025, the German drone market will grow to more than €1.6 billion. One of the pioneers of drone technology is FlyNex.
From skydivers to startup founders
The Ai startup now has locations in Hamburg, Leipzig and even Silicon Valley. Photo: FlyNex
During his time as an officer in the military paratroopers and company commander of the Aladin drones, FlyNex co-founder Michael Petrosjan became well acquainted with the issue of unmanned aerial systems. Drones can take on a wide range of tasks, such as monitoring and inspecting buildings, electricity pylons, agricultural land and much more. Both private-sector companies and public institutions can save a lot of time and money in the process, but often lack the equipment and technical know-how. This is where the platform solution of FlyNex steps in.
AUTOMATED INFRASTRUCTURE INSPECTIONS
Its cloud-based All-In-One platform covers the entire commercial application range of data acquisition by unmanned aerial systems (drones). The FlyNex enterprise suite helps to plan and execute commercial drone projects and to analyze the acquired data, for example with the help of AI. With the platform, companies in the construction, energy and real estate industries can capture data faster and more cost-effectively than with conventional methods. Data is captured centralized in the web-based application and is immediately available for processing. With a project management workflow, a connect app for drones and interfaces to analytics applications, companies can handle their entire project management with the FlyNex platform.
STARTUP HOTSPOT LEIPZIG
In 2017 the founders applied for the SpinLab Accelerator program and successfully made it into the 5th class. FlyNex has been attracted to Leipzig by the strong funding scene and access to pilot projects with the broad SpinLab partners network. The move from Hamburg to Leipzig has definitely paid off. During the 6-month program, the startup raised millions in funding. Investors included High-Tech Gründerfonds (HTGF) and SpinLab partner Technologiegründerfonds Sachsen (TGFS).
"SpinLab was the right accelerator in our early-stage phase. Six months of intensive coaching and workshops have brought us forward in a variety of topics, as has the exchange with other startups. The network of investors and partners is really first-class and was one of the reasons to move our headquarters to Leipzig," says FlyNex CFO Michael Petrosjan.
Accelerating innovation with corporate power
SpinLab’s innovation partner EnviaM is a leading regional energy service provider in Germany. The energy service provider is working with startups to implement new digital business ideas and products for the energy transition and helps them to gain a foothold in the market.
One example of a successful collaboration is the cooperation with the startup FlyNex. They support the grid operator MITNETZ STROM in monitoring power and gas lines with the help of drone flights. The remote-controlled drones make monitoring the high-voltage grid much easier and more efficient. Using a specially developed software program, FlyNex can plan the flight missions in just a few minutes and also implement them directly. Previously, the overhead lines had to be flown over and checked by helicopter. A process that is more costly and time-consuming.
Since 2017, enviaM has been a long-term partner of SpinLab. Photo: enviaM
"The FlyNex case is representative of the philosophy we follow in supporting founders. Our goal is to create a win-win situation for everyone. As a project partner from the very beginning, we want to establish the facility as an innovation center and driver for the digitization of energy supply. We are on a very good path here," emphasizes enviaM Business Development Manager Michael Voigtmann.
Hunting for damage with AI
In addition, the energy company and SpinLab partner LEAG has also recognized the huge potential of drone technology. Jointly with the LEAG subsidiary GMB, FlyNex tested an automated digital aerial survey in 2020. The test object was a bridge in Welzow near Cottbus, which runs over railway tracks and is located on the premises of LEAG. The aim was to use the drone and the connected AI solution to automatically identify possible damage with an accuracy of less than 1 mm. Based on the successful test in Welzow, the company wants to use the innovative software-based process continuously.
SpinLab - The HHL Accelerator -the place to be for Startups
Indeed, the accelerator program has even led the founders to open an additional location in Leipzig. Today, the office is still located in the SpinLab building. By far, FlyNex is the most widely used software solution for commercial drone projects in Europe. Michael Petrosjan adds: "SpinLab helped us, especially in the initial phase, through its reputation. Moreover, the numerous exchange formats and access to investors were and are very helpful. In particular, SpinLab has supported our access to customers from the energy industry very well."