Northern Stars: Giles Moore, Airstoc

Northern Stars: Giles Moore, Airstoc

After 20 months filled with ups and downs, it was an amazing feeling to win a Northern Stars award according to Giles Moore, CEO of Sheffield’s Airstoc Ltd. He caught up with BQ to fill us in on Airstoc.

Tell us all about your business, in 100 words or less...

Airstoc is the world’s first dedicated marketplace for the professional drone industry, connecting customers with operators around the world. 

We have platform to enable customers to simply bookhire a drone operator within minutes, for any sector in any location around the world, (civil engineering, real estate, media) and we take care of the rest.

In addition, we sell aerial stock footage captured by the same drone operators, showcasing sights around the world from completely new perspectives, adding significant value to any production. 

Working with thousands of professional operators, we cover all 7 continents, opening the world up to new possibilities.

 

And, especially if your business is particularly technical, how would you explain it to your Grandma?

In laymen terms, we are a marketplace dedicated to the drone industry. If you want anything drone or aerial related, we can sort it for you.

 

Where did the idea come from? What motivated you to start your own business?

One of my co founders is a professional drone operator and set up his own aerial filming business in 2011, after obtaining a licence. He loved it but came across many problems and he wasn’t on his own. He came to me with the idea of doing something around drones to help independent operators and the industry as a whole, and as a result, we developed Airstoc.

I have always wanted my own business and prior to this, my co founder and I had set up a  few small business on the side, some worked and some didn’t but it was always in us to go alone at it with the right idea.

 

Have you raised finance so far? If so, how?

Yes, we have raised £500,000, predominantly from a German VC, but also a small amount from a Bulgarian VC and from an angel investor, who was the original founder of Fotolia. I had never been through this process before but just bombarded the investment market and knocked down door after door until I got through. One of the hardest thing I have had to go through personally but an amazing feeling of satisfaction that I made it happen.

 

What are your most and least favourite parts of your job?

Most is that I am always learning. Taking on the CEO role has been very challenging but extremely rewarding and I am fully outside of my comfort zone which means I continue to learn on a daily basis. I also love the challenges that come at us and being able to work with the team to get around them. It keeps you on your toes and always looking at ways to be innovative and stay ahead of the competition. Another area I love is on the high level partnerships because if you get it right it can make a huge difference to the business.

The least favourite will be the day to day admin that takes up a huge amount of my time and you don’t see any real value from but it has to be done. However, I would say taking the full weight of the business on my shoulders is the hardest and least favourite. That means that I very rarely relax worry a lot which is never a good thing.

 

When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I either wanted to be a footballer or run my own business. I used to play football none stop and at a high level but I also used to make things to sell or buy and sell items to make additional money. I think I started doing this with Christmas crackers, that I would make and sell around my area from the age of 8. I think I just had the bug inside me.

 

How did it feel to be crowned one of TechNorth’s Northern Stars?

Amazing feeling especially after the past 20 months being so incredibly hard at times. You don’t always notice it when you are on the inside but receiving recognition for what you have achieved to date from people is an amazing feeling and gives you an additional boost you need at times to continue to believe what you are doing is right. Plus we always wanted to stay up North for this business and didn’t want to fall into the trap of having to go to the US so it’s nice to receive the recognition from Tech North who are all about this.

 

Which of the prizes do you think will be of most value to you and your business?

I don’t think we will know until we have been through them all and see what comes out of the other side. It is so hard to judge because you only need that one contact that can open doors or is the person you need and your business can be transformed. I will come back to you on this after.

 

What’s next for you, and where do you see your business in a year?

We are very excited for 2016. We have got our team together, with the addition of one more person early next year. We have also built the site to a stage where we can really scale the business and it is now about concentrating on a few key targets in order to take Airstoc to the next level.

We have a couple of big potential partnerships in the pipeline which we are in discussions about currently. if we can see them through, and that could happen early 2016, next year could be incredible for us, so watch this space.