Using drones for photography and videography is becoming increasingly popular and accessible. The market is expected to generate USD 127 billion in value by 2025, threefold of what it was last year. Three friends foresaw the potential for the market and decided to tap into it.
They weren’t even in the media industry back then, and simply wanted to make videos for fun. After buying their first drone, they experimented with it on some of their trips together, one of which caught the attention of many. They started getting inquiries about aerial media work at first, but companies also began approaching them about mapping and land surveying.
“It made us realize that there was a demand for this new technology and a gap in the industry that we could fill,” said Siddiq. Thus, DroneCult was born in 2015.
Prior to their startup, the friends, Siddiq, Amir and Azzam had full-time jobs as a lawyer, IT senior exec and digital marketer respectively. They did DroneCult part-time since 2015 and only started getting into it full-time last year.
The work is shared between the three of them as well as some drone freelancers. All their freelancers, including themselves, are trained and certified from CIDB, OPITO and PETRONAS. It wasn’t hard for them to break even within the first few months of the startup, seeing as their only capital was their first drone.
Wouldn’t it be expensive to travel around and take documentary-like shots to show what you can do? “Our team members love to travel. We bring our drones whenever we go for personal trips or vacations since we all have a shared interest in photography and videography. So, it doesn’t cost the company anything when it comes to that,” Siddiq said.
Moreover, as 2 of their founders are experienced in IT and digital marketing, it helped minimize their startup costs further. They were able to easily design their own website, do online marketing, video and picture editing and graphic designing on their own.
Demand in construction
Over the years, DroneCult has worked with clients from all kinds of industries. Their most popular clients are construction companies, but they’ve worked with brands, events, logistics, oil and gas, and utility companies too.
Pricing depends on the client’s needs, and it can range from as low as MYR 2,000 (USD 482) all the way up to MYR 50,000 (USD 12,050) based on the job scope and duration of work. As their popular client is the construction industry, they’d always factor in the risk of harm in their pricing, which ranges from as low as MYR 500 (USD 120) up to a couple thousand ringgit. Other than that, they’ll also charge miscellaneous fees such as travel expenses, accommodations and permits fees.
So far, they are able to maintain a 5-figure monthly profit consistently. To help you gauge their profits better, they are able to set aside MYR 30,000 (USD 7,230) of their yearly revenue for annual company trips. But then again, since these trips help them bring in more work to show on their portfolio, it technically is an investment on their end too.
Use case agriculture
Two years into their startup, they foresaw the rise of drone photography especially as they will get cheaper and more mainstream in the years to come. Hence, their team tapped more into the technical and industrial fields since the beginning to establish a household name for themselves.
They also explored more of what drone technology can do aside from taking photos and videos. They’ve used their drones for inspection, progress reports, mapping, agriculture, surveys, and more. As of now, they are in the midst of R&D using drones in agriculture, specifically for spraying and crop management.
While the drone market is growing rapidly, they see this accessibility doing more harm than good. “The commercial drones in the market nowadays are so easy to fly and get good footage but we see a lot of inexperienced pilots offering their services for below the market average prices. There were many instances where these experienced pilots crash into personal property or even people due to unsafe practices,” Siddiq explained.
This article was originally published by Vulcan Post.