The drone company FairFleet is a professional full-service partner for both customers and pilots – from consulting to obtaining permits to post-production of aerial photography. In the interview with InsurTech Hub Munich, FairFleet’s CEO, Florian Waubke, shares his vision with us, how he and his team benefited from joining the InsurTechHub Munich and what they hope to achieve within the years to come.
1. What exactly does your start-up do and what is special about your business model?
FairFleet is a professional full-service partner for both customers and pilots – from consulting to obtaining permits to post-production of aerial photography. We therefore not only carry out the flight, but also provide the subsequent data analysis. In addition, we guarantee 100% legal certainty of the missions, as well as unrestricted rights of use for our clients. Founded in Munich in December 2015, we are now Europe’s leading provider of drone services with a network of more than 1,600 verified UAV pilots in over 42 countries. We are active in the following verticals: real estate, agriculture, insurance, telecommunications and energy. In agriculture, for example, we use aerial images for plant counting and damage mapping. In the insurance sector, we offer damage inspections and the subsequent creation of georeferenced orthophotos. For the energy sector, for example, we offer thermal imagery to identify defective modules of solar panels or inspections of pipelines or wind turbines.
2. Why did you choose the InsurTech Europe powered by Plug and Play accelerator program of the InsurTech Hub Munich?
The accelerator program of the InsurTech Hub Munich allows us to network with major corporate partners and to exchange ideas with other interesting startups and gives us access to relevant investors.
3. What opportunities does Munich offer for start-ups?
Munich is Germany’s No. 1 business location. Its proximity to the DAX, insurance and technology companies makes Munich a particularly attractive location for us. The direct exchange with these firms allows us to bring our innovative solutions directly to them while benefiting from their industry know-how. In addition, Munich offers a particularly good infrastructure as well as access to well-trained staff.
4. Where do you see yourself and your start-up in 5 years?
In 5 years we’ll be carrying out the majority of drone flights throughout Europe. We see great potential in the insurance and the agriculture industry. We want to roll out our offerings in these verticals even further. In addition, we aim to expand into Asia. Furthermore, we want to use artificial intelligence for data analysis. If we look a bit further into the future – say 7 to 10 years – we want to focus on autonomous flying, which is legally not possible at the moment.
5. What advice would you give to other founders?
It doesn’t always have to be Berlin, Munich also has a dynamic startup scene with a lot of access to big DAX firms. Learning from the exchange with other founders is also important, e.g. in the course of accelerator programs. In addition, founders should not be afraid of mistakes, you only learn through trial and error.
6. What surprised you most when you founded your company?
FairFleet was founded as a project of the Allianz Company Builder. In March 2018, we were spun out and were surprised by the effort entailed in this process. The bureaucracy involved is really immense. All of a sudden you have to deal with topics like accounting and HR in addition to your actual job.
7. What do you expect from German politics / the Munich region regarding start-up support?
We would like to see easier founding conditions and less bureaucracy for startups. A venture capital friendly environment, as in the Silicon Valley, for example, would make Germany more attractive to founders. In terms of GDP, ten times more venture capital is invested in the USA than in Germany. In addition, it’s time for some serious digitization efforts. An example from our day-to-day work is obtaining flight permits. Sometimes we have to send in applications for special permits by post. The processing of theses permits usually takes up to 4 weeks. In extreme cases, we even have to pick up the approved permit personally at the responsible office. These processes cost young, small businesses like us a lot of time and resources.