On July 20th, 2016 Teal drones came out of stealth mode and is now taking pre-orders for its first drone, Teal. I could not be more excited to talk about Teal and share our perspective as an investor in the company.
In June of 2015, I reached out to George Matus Jr., CEO of Teal, after I had heard about a 17-year old drone phenom who had received a Thiel fellowship and was in our backyard. When we met, he was still a high school senior sporting braces and unable to drive to our meeting because he didn’t have a driver’s license. Needless to say, when I walked into our conference room that day I was looking for reasons to say no. After spending an hour with George, I was overwhelmingly impressed by his vision for a drone platform as well as his presence as an entrepreneur. A week later, George returned to our office to meet with a few of my partners; several of them glimpsed George’s vision and wanted to invest. By the fall of 2015, George had raised $2.8 Million from NEA, Highland Capital, Kickstart Seed Fund and Pelion Venture Partners. Both Ben Dahl and I consider ourselves fortunate to be on the board of Teal.
So what did we see beyond the braces and the 17-year old high school senior?
Today, drones are largely flying cameras with single use cases. We at Pelion believe that drones and other unmanned systems are part of our digital and real-world future. We believe that there will be a day when drones will do many tasks that are today being done by human beings manually. In order for that vision to come to fruition, there needs to be a platform on which people and companies can develop applications and software for diverse use cases. George’s vision for Teal is to unlock the potential of drones by building the software and hardware platform that will enable these varied tasks to be accomplished by a single drone.
However, the larger thing that we saw was George Matus Jr. George was meant to build this company. At 18, George has been building and flying drones for more than half of his life. His command over the technical needs, pitfalls and potential of drones is second to none. George and team have incubated in our office space since the investment closed. Every day we are amazed by what he and his team are accomplishing.
Teal is launching (www.tealdrones.com) with a consumer drone that has a super computer on board. It will be the world’s fastest commercial drone (clocked at over 70 MPH). It has a very sophisticated follow-me application. It will have a virtual bubble to help people like me learn to fly. But for the enthusiast, it is ready out of the box to race in person or virtually. Most importantly for the extensibility of the platform, Teal comes with the SDKs and an API in which developers and programmers will be able to develop applications to run on the drone. As a result, the value of the platform will only become clear as Teal’s customers mold the use cases to their needs.
We at Pelion are excited to be with George for the journey.