Entrepreneurial spirit can take hold at an early age. The team behind Dynasoar – an innovation designed to gather insight from the sky – prove it.
When Mohammed Morsi, Ali Al-Ajail, and Adan Adonis met at elementary school in Doha, they not only formed a lasting friendship that would ultimately see them enter the emerging, cutting-edge field of drone technology together; they combined their studies with their first steps into enterprise. Unsurprisingly, they describe themselves as “born hustlers”.
Now they are channeling their eye for an opportunity, their individual skillsets, and their collective vision into Dynasoar, a startup currently being incubated at Qatar Science & Technology Park (QSTP) that uses drones and specialized sensors to collect hyper-accurate aerial data, from which industries and entities can glean valuable, pinpointed information while saving time, effort, and money.
“The amount of data that can be collected using innovative airborne sensors is infinite,” says Mohammed, the company’s CEO and CTO. “Our drone technology is designed to extract targeted data from it.
“We now collect, in a single year, more information from data-mining than in every previous year combined, but the challenge is how to get value from it. Qatar has the resources and vision to capitalize in developments in this area – we share that vision and, through our technology, we feel we have something to offer.”
Dynasoar began to take shape while the three friends were temporarily separated by their university studies. During a field trip, Mohammed visited an under-construction Amazon warehouse where drone technology was being used. “I messaged Ali and Adan, saying I felt this was a great opportunity for Qatar, and we should look to tap into it,” he remembers.
“It was a way for us to give something back to Qatar, which has always been there for us. Ali and Adan already had experience of launching startups and we each had different but complementary skills. So when we all returned to Qatar after graduating, we joined forces again.”
Excitement about their idea was initially dampened by regulations, restrictions, and lack of public awareness surrounding drones in Qatar, leading to the trio questioning whether they should continue or focus on the alternative career options they all had. Then they spoke to Dr Thomas Emerson, a renowned entrepreneur and corporate executive, and a faculty member at Qatar Foundation partner university Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar, where Adan studied.
“He believed in our idea, and in us,” says Ali, Dynasoar’s CCO. “We approached him as an advisor, and he told us he would only do it if he invested in us himself. That gave us such a push – like we had our own Steve Jobs.”
With this injection of impetus, the team “hit the floor running”: developing a prototype, approaching potential beneficiaries, explaining their idea, and sowing the seeds of a client base. “We always got one of three reactions,” says Mohammed. “Some thought drones were just for military use, some couldn’t believe our technology could do in two hours what usually takes two weeks, and some people – the real visionaries who understood what our innovation could do for them – were excited.”
A milestone week for Dynasoar came when the team were invited to exhibit at QITCOM 2017, Qatar’s biggest smart technology event. They won the Best Smart Business Solution and during the event, learned they had been accepted into the QSTP Incubator.
“Being at QSTP places us in an environment where there are multinational companies who can benefit from our technology,” said Adan, the company’s CFO and CBDO. “They’re excited to learn there is a company next door to them that can provide these data-mining solutions. And it gives us added credibility in the eyes of the market.”
As they continue to develop Dynasoar, the team are not only focused on aligning it with market needs, but also discovering possible new avenues and applications for its use. “We’re identifying more areas we can tap into as we go,” said Ali. “The drone industry is new, but rapidly-growing, and that creates a wide range of opportunities – oil and gas, engineering, construction, and others.
“Our mindset is ‘rather than waiting for the world to advance, why not advance it?’. We don’t just want to see Qatar’s vision unfold; we want to be part of it making it happen.”
Mohammed, Ali, and Adan debunk any notion that you shouldn’t go into business with friends. “Trust is invaluable,” says Mohammed. “There’s nobody else I’d rather work with.” The others agree.
But which of them came up with the name? Adan takes the credit. “Birds are descendants of dinosaurs,” he explains. “Drones look like pterodactyls, and soar like birds.” The Dynasoar team believe their innovation can live up to its title.
TO BE AN ENTREPRENEUR, YOU NEED TO…
Mohammed Morsi says: “As Nike said, just do it. Don’t be afraid of failure. It ultimately leads to success.”
Ali Al-Ajail says: “Only launch a startup when you are certain of at least 70 percent of what it is going to be. If you can explain in layman’s terms to yourself and others, you’re ready for the next stage.”
Adan Adonis says: “Stay positive and determined. It’s a mindset that will help you overcome all the roadblocks that inevitably come your way.”
To discover more about Dynasoar, visit www.dynasoar.co