HiveUAV – NRMA Jumpstart Accelerator 2015

By Dr Chris Renton and Ilche Vojdanoski, Co-founders HiveUAV
HiveUAV is a mobile solution for the remote operation of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs or drones).

Why did you apply to the program?

“We’ve reached the next level in our business development since completing the program and it’s clear to see that the NRMA Jumpstart has underpinned the step up”, says Chris.

According to Iliche, NRMA Jumpstart provided an opportunity to test their business idea and build it out in a structured and disciplined fashion.

“We had guidance from business people, Startup founders and mentors with experience,” he says.

“The link to NRMA was an incredible opportunity for HiveUAV. NRMA is a prestigious organization that provides access to over two million members in NSW.”

The real driver behind HiveUAV applying for the NRMA Jumpstart program was the $30k seed funding on offer, together with the opportunity to thoroughly test their idea with business mentors.

After applying, Ilche says that they were invited to pitch their idea to a panel from NRMA, Slingshot, Artesian Capital, and a small crowd of  NRMA executives.

“The format was a 5-minute slide deck and presentation, then a Q&A with the panel. “It was both exhilarating and nerve racking. We were relieved at the end, but it was well worth it!”

Chris remembers that it was an exciting time as they started the program. “It felt great to really test the concept we had developed and to be in the program with five fellow startups,” he says.

“As our Startup is focused on business-to-business, we had to really refine our idea, our target markets, the problem we were solving, and the business model.”

Both HiveUAV Co-founders felt the reality of the program was much different to their expectations.

“We learnt so much,” Chris says. “Working with Slingshot we learnt to apply a new business model process to what we were used to.

“We learnt so much around product and market fit, continually refining our business model and idea until we had something that was valuable to customers.”

Iliche adds, “This involved testing, throwing out assumptions and most importantly gaining traction.” Chris and Iliche, like all the program’s participants, completed a weekly workshop with experts in business modelling, marketing, pitching, software, user experience, growth hacking, and social media.

Both talk of the regular review meetings with Slingshot, and meeting and presenting to key people from NRMA, as the highlights of the program.

The program was evidently “full on” from the start. Iliche recalls, “We learnt things from start to finish, the core of which is the business model planning, which really helped to organise our thoughts in a structured way.

“A real stand out for us was the culmination of the whole program in the pitch day,” he says. “It was a great way to share our key learnings and business model.

“Having the huge crowd in the theatre was exhilarating and the energy from the pitch was amazing.”

The HiveUAV Co-founders can’t recommend the NRMA Jumpstart program highly enough.

Chris wonders where to start. “Testing and refining the business, having access to awesome mentors, business leaders, events, media, venture capitalists, investors and the opportunity to be involved with the NRMA are all things that you just don’t get when slogging it out alone, without a lot of hard work and time.

“From my experience, this program reduces twelve months worth of work into three, so it really helped accelerate our business growth.

“I would suggest anybody who has started a business, but hasn’t yet developed traction and wants access to all of the above to apply.

“It’s perfect for anyone with a burning desire to work hard and grow a business from an idea stage.”

Ilche agrees. “There is no silver bullet, it’s a mix of passion, hard work, desire and being open minded to different views and opinions – from people with a single goal –

your success!”

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