In anticipation of the final round of the 2020 Pitch Dingman Competition, the Dingman Center is interviewing each of the five startup finalists about their progress and upcoming challenges as they prepare to compete for the $15,000 Grand Prize on March 10th in the Grand Ballroom of Stamp Student Union. Learn more and register to attend the competition here.
Joshua Ermias ’20, Public Health Sciences
Vincent Jaugan ’21, Communication and Media Studies
Door Robotics: Door Robotics is helping build a future of better content. We are building a 2D and 360 camera drone and custom software enabling for lower barriers to entry for 360 content creating and post-production. A huge market facing issues with 360 cameras is the real estate virtual tour market. There are over a million real estate photographers on LinkedIn. In order to create virtual tours to post to listing site, a photographer needs to position a 360 camera on a tripod in a property, get out of the camera shot, click and capture, reposition a few feet away, and repeat the process until the whole property has been captured. They then need to pay to use 3rd party software to create virtual tours and 3D mapped layouts from the series of pictures. Our drone can autonomously fly through a property in a quarter of the time it currently takes and upload fully generated virtual tours to the cloud immediately after the flight.
DC: Have there been some key decisions or milestones along the way that have led you from an idea to now pitching for $15K?
Door Robotics: We have developed this technology over the course of several years and only recently developed a working product we have been able to pitch to investors. We raised $65k from one investor and are in the final prototype phase before we launch on Kickstarter. We have already begun prospecting for our target market and getting feedback through surveys.
DC: What have you learned from the semifinals that will help you better prepare for Finals?
Door Robotics: During the semifinals, a majority of the Q&A was based on the lifetime value of our customers and how we plan on defending our place in the market. We had not yet decided to focus on the real estate market and it was harder to defend our drone compared to other camera drones and the lifetime value of the customer. Now it is clear that our primary users, real estate photographers, are making money based off our product and will never run out of new houses/apartments to create content for. The software enabling indoor autonomous Roomba-like flight and the software editing http://ares.umd.edu/phr/and production suite sets us apart from our competitors and we are prepared to pitch about that market and our software offering in the Finals.
DC: What has your startup been working on since Pitch Dingman Competition Semifinals?
Door Robotics: Since the Semifinals, we have raised more capital, finished 2 more prototypes, identified the most effective segment of the market to sell into, and have begun our prospecting, outreach, and surveying the market. We have also begun manufacturing a batch of the final prototypes to create our final Kickstarter content with and to begin client demonstrations.
DC: What are some goals you are looking to reach before Finals?
Door Robotics: Before the finals, we would like to finalize our finished product’s designs, submit a provisional patent, land 5-10 purchase agreements from the real estate photographers market segment, and establish an advisory board.
DC: If you win Pitch Dingman Competition, what will you do with the $15,000?
Door Robotics: The $15,000 from this competition will be used to complete paying for our finished product, a provisional patent, and marketing for our Kickstarter.