FreeSkies Student Startup

FreeSkies CoPilot app interface
FreeSkies CoPilot app interface
FreeSkies, Inc. was started in the fall of 2014 by 3 aerospace engineering undergrads from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign: Andy Putch, Jay Mulakala, and Ankur Mehta, and incorporated in 2015. They recognized the rise in drone usage around the United States, but lack of focus on the photographers, videographers, and marketers attempting to capture high quality aerial video.

While undergrads, the FreeSkies team competed in several events, several through the University of Illinois. In September 2014, FreeSkies was a top three finalist in Founders’ 54 Startup event and won funding and resources for their project. They were also a finalist in the Technology Entrepreneur Center’s Cozad New Venture Competition. They were later accepted into the Lightspeed Ventures Summer Fellowship program in Menlo Park, CA and received space, funding and resources as a result.

Jay Mulakala, FreeSkies Co-Founder and CFO.
Jay Mulakala, FreeSkies Co-Founder and CFO.
Andy Putch, FreeSkies Co-Founder and CEO.
Andy Putch, FreeSkies Co-Founder and CEO.
FreeSkies works to make aerial data capture simple and accessible to everyone, with their flagship software, FreeSkies CoPilot. CoPilot makes a drone capable of autonomous and manual flight, automated flight paths, simple launch and landing capabilities, and flight stability, allowing the user to get the most unique shot every time, at a tenth of the cost, without the use of cranes, tracks, and dollies, without being distracted by typical complex drone control.

The team states, “The software powers complex functions during flight from path management to launch and landing. This allows the user to simply input points and fly the quad copter freely through those points. This method is beneficial to users because it cuts the cost of using heavy machinery such as cranes or lifts, and is able to deliver the most unique shot, to both professional and amateur directors and photographers.”

FreeSkies has grown to a team of five with Andy Putch serving as CEO and Jay Mulakala as CFO. They are headquartered in California.

To learn more, visit http://freeskies.org/