What can we say – Brand Prize 2017 has had us in a glass case of (positive) emotions.
The Top 5 applicants were named, featured and then individually set up for a video call with reps from the Brand Prize team. Each startup had the opportunity during the call to showcase their team, share pivotal moments in their startup’s journey to-date and talk about their influences or sources of inspiration.
Who was in the running? Blox, Hummingbird Drones, HRx, Unused Terrain and The Walking School Bus. All of whom demonstrated innovation, product/market fit and a social impact component. All are looking to disrupt the norm by remixing old and new ideas or introducing a completely original approach to solving a world problem.
We found each team to be incredibly passionate, well spoken and could clearly articulate the change they sought to bring through their work.
Ultimately, we wish we could work with all five (one day!) but we had to choose just one to be the Brand Prize 2017 winner…
Founded by Robert Atwood and Richard Sullivan, the Kamloops-based startup currently “provides infrared scanning, visible mapping and real-time information services for wildfire agencies, emergency responders and the natural resource sector”.
The two were studying natural resource science students and working as wildlife firefighters in the summers when the idea struck them. How could they leverage the potential of unmanned aerial vehicles paired with machine learning to better detect, and thus suppress, wildfires? Without a business background, Atwood and Sullivan have built a revenue-driven, eight-person company and have recently gained serious traction in the midst of BC’s wildfires, establishing partnerships with local and international agencies.
Based on Hummingbird Drones’ application and video call, a number of attributes stood out to us.
Firstly, the startup’s remixing of existing technologies to create a new (and evolving) solution – one that has the potential to be used worldwide for similar initiatives.
Beyond that, Hummingbird Drones’ work highlights the larger narrative of environmental changes, the effects of which are felt globally. In the context of Brand Prize, North America specifically has been facing the consequences of raising temperatures and increasingly dramatic weather conditions. Hummingbird Drones’ business solution raises questions around emergency preparedness and how we can apply technology advancements to combat, or at least mitigate, the effects connected to natural disasters.
Finally, Hummingbird Drones’ mission immediately captures attention and provides a heart-pulling story that everyone can see value in.
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