xCraft pitched their high speed drones in the Shark Tank on October 23. Heavy interviewed creator JD Claridge about his company. When asked what makes their drones stand out from the rest, he said, “The main difference is high speed. The X PlusOne can still hover just like all the other drones but it can fly twice as fast – 60 miles per hour.” Here is what else he told us about…
How the Idea Came About
I have been designing and building flying things as long as I can remember. The idea for the X PlusOne struck me as I was operating another drone and needed to follow something moving fast. I thought, ‘Why not tip the craft all the way over and replace the cross arm with a wing?’ Thus the idea was born. I originally started tinkering with the concept on my own but then brought it in as a side project into my aerospace consulting firm. We had a prototype flying by the end of the summer last year. We applied for a patent, launched on Kickstarter, and the rest is history.
It’s a huge platform that amplifies good ideas. We also get to meet and understand our customer before we have finalized design. That feedback is invaluable. The money is also nice.
Although I have watched Shark Tank for years, pitching on the show was not on our radar until the producers contacted us. They said they were looking for exciting new drone companies and they had seen our project on Kickstarter. Of course, we jumped at the opportunity! There’s a huge intimidation factor being on national television in front of five million/billionaire investors. Before we entered the Tank, I took a lot of deep breaths, re-rehearsed the pitch, and went for it!
Plans for the Future
We are scaling the company to deliver our existing backlog of orders, shoring up customer support, and building sales/distribution channels. We are also launching a brand new Kickstarter campaign call PhoneDrone Ethos. It’s a groundbreaking product that gives your smartphone wings.