Boulder-based company Black Swift Technologies was founded by three PhD students from the University of Colorado. The three men were inspired to start the company from their work in the field during their studies. At CU, they learned how to chase storms and collect data using old military equipment, which is relatively complicated to use. They set out to simplify the process with unmanned aircraft systems and Black Swift Technologies was born.
Although they are a relatively new company, their team, now consisting of seven engineers, represents over 30 years of experience in complex unmanned aircraft systems. The company takes pride in their modular aircraft system that has been approved and used by NASA.
The Boulder Small Business Development Center had the pleasure of working with President and CEO, Jack Elston, in their Technology Ventures Series in 2016.
“We were a bunch of engineers who started a company, so there was a lot to be learned on the business side,” explained Elston. “We got an idea of what we should be looking at, what we weren’t looking at, and what we missed to get a better understanding of the business aspect. We also got a good network of people we could talk to.”
He found abundant value in the experience and relatability of the consultants and presenters who were brought into the program. “We immediately started chatting about the work we’d done and our frustrations of trying to find money to span the gap between the technology development and getting it to market, and we’ve had a pretty good relationship ever since,” remarked Elston.
The cohort aspect even brought him a valuable business partnership. Another company participating in the program was able to use Black Swift Technologies as a beta tester for one of their projects. Furthermore, Elston was also able to build a strong network of similar companies in the same startup space in the Boulder area.
Since the end of the program, Boulder SBDC has continued the relationship with Black Swift Technologies and has been able to provide consulting on additional business needs that have arisen since the conclusion of the program. Elston’s company is working on bettering their marketing plan based on client research they collected while working with the SBDC and consultants. They are also focusing more on business planning and working on allocating more money towards other areas. “We saw that there was a lot more value for us with focusing on retail. It’s a little too early to tell if that’s the right direction, but we’re excited about the potential,” concluded Elston.
The Boulder Small Business Development Center will be continuing their Technology Ventures Series in the future because of the success of companies like Black Swift Technologies.