Out-tern Program Round 2 - Q&A with startup FlyFreely

Drones? Check. Inspirational co-working space? Check. Startup and mentor eager and ready to go? Check!

Mark Rhodes, Head of Group Assurance in Risk at BOQ, and startup FlyFreely recently completed Round 2 of BOQ's and River City Labs' ( RCL ) Out-tern Program. The program pairs a BOQ employee with a startup based out of RCL to work with and mentor them on their startup journey.

The team at FlyFreely are all about integrated drone management for enterprises and are the only company in Australia who comprehensively coordinate all drone-related training, aircraft, mission, data and approvals in one place. BOQ's Mark Rhodes had heard really good feedback about the Out-tern Program, and given Mark's career experience, combined with FlyFreely's fundamental business model (helping large enterprises control their risks in regards to drones), the two parties coming together was the perfect fit.

David Cole, Founder and CEO of FlyFreely said that their time with Mark, 'helped us clarify our value proposition for large enterprise customers. Mark allowed us to get into the shoes of our potential customer to see things from their perspective". Together they were able to discover a potentially lucrative future business model in an area directly related to what FlyFreely currently does.

We caught up with Mark to ask him some questions about his experience with FlyFreely and his thoughts in relation to the Out-tern Program.

How would you describe your experience working with the FlyFreely team?

When I committed to the program it still wasn't totally clear which startup I would be working with, although I knew one of the potential partners was FlyFreely - who had developed a Drone Risk Managment Platform. Secretly,  I was hoping it would be FlyFreely as they potential use for drones seems to be increasing exponentially, and the risk management aspect was intriguing.

Looking back I really struck lucky with FlyFreely as the team was absolutely awesome. It is a really small team, led by their CEO David. They are such an incredibly passionate group of people; all of them seem to be so emotionally invested in making FlyFreely a success. Developing the platform was hard work, but it is clear the FlyFreely team love their work so much, it does not seem to be 'work' for them.

As expected, I got involved in so much more than the initial problem they wanted help with, which was incredibly exciting. One of the best moments was when we were trying to solve a particular problem and ended up identifying a significant number of other potential uses for the platform that hadn't really been explored.

What has been the standout moment or insight that has stuck with you since having worked with the FlyFreely team?

There were a number of individual standout moments, but the two biggest insights I took away were:

Firstly, how positively FlyFreely approached each and every challenge they ran into. At no stage did I hear negative comments about "how they couldn't fix a particular problem", or "something wasn't fair", they just hunkered down and started problem-solving - often reaching out to other startups in River City Labs.

Secondly, how much support and interaction there was amongst the various startups in River City Labs. Although at face value many of the startups were potential competitors, this did not stop them from collaborating with each other - often working in partnership to solve customer problems.

If you are interested in learning more about the Out-tern Program contact Robbie Iacobuta. The next round is due to take place later this month so stay tuned for more information.


Published by BOQ