Kgolane Jack Moruthane is a young entrepreneur who established Flight Mode Productions in 2017, playing in the media space by literally providing a new view of things. Moruthane’s aerial filming is certainly a new take on videography, capturing footage from the sky.
Through the use of commercial drones, the business captures the outdoors – whether it be agricultural landscapes, public events and experiences, for use in virtual reality scenarios or a catalogue of South African footage stock. Ultimately, Moruthane would like to create a drone hailing platform to host a network of drone pilots
“Drones have been around since the ’80s when they were used mainly in the military, but around 2012/2013 they become more common. Their popularity actually grew as a result of drones in the toy market,” Moruthane says.
With a background in IT, starting out as a distributor for servers and screens, Moruthane got together with some friends in aviation and they decided to look at drones more seriously and spent three years exploring and experimenting before launching Flight Mode Productions.
Its target market includes among others marketers, filmmakers, event organisers, journalists, private entertainers and area mapping experts. “Drones provide the advantage of flexibility, the range of shots is much greater, and it is affordable,” says Moruthane.
In terms of marketing, Flight Mode Productions, a 100% black owned business, is in its infancy relying on meeting people at conferences about drone technology, and networking. “Any marketing is premature as we are not licensed yet. For now, it’s about building relationships.”
Setting up can cost you up to R250 000 for your equipment and certification. “Getting the operator certificate takes a great deal of paperwork and before you can operate commercially you need to employ a few drone pilots and have several drone compliance assurances.” The flight laws require that you fly within the allowed aviation space and always have sight of the drone.
Kgolane currently employs two people and plans to subcontract up to 18 pilots by 2019.
“When you turn commercial, that’s when the fun starts.” Short term goals for Flight Mode Productions are to comply with aviation laws by acquiring a commercial Remote Operator Certificate (ROC) as well as to become certified with safety management and quality assurance qualifications.
One of the major advantages of drone technology is data collection. “Particularly in farming. Drones can cover hectares and hectares of land to gather information that would take days to do by other means. This makes the data available almost immediately.”
Moruthane plans to add artificial intelligence to the business offering as a way to develop insights around the data.
Further down the line, Flight Mode Productions has set its sights on a drone-hailing platform to host a network of drone pilots.
As an SAB KickStart Boost finalist, it seems that Moruthane has set in motion the first steps to partnering with SAB. The programme helps finalists find opportunities to increase their market access, including helping them to connect with appropriate local stakeholders within their respective communities so that more people adopt their services and support their business growth.
In true entrepreneurial sprit, Moruthane believes all his ideas will materialise and his advice for other entrepreneurs is, “Success comes when you overcome all obstacles – fatigue, excuses, critique and regret. Success is believing in yourself to finish what you started. Take control of your own destiny.”
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