An exclusive Tech Tribune Q&A with Conor Ferguson (co-founder, president, and CEO) of WISPr, which was honored in our:
Tell us the origin story of WISPr – what problem were you trying to solve and why?
Prior to the formation of WISPr Systems, I helped my father’s ISP company build and deploy fixed wireless internet services in rural areas around Northwest Mississippi. While building out the wireless network, I found that the most time consuming part of deployment of the wireless internet was the time it took to survey a location to determine if the customer can get wireless internet. To survey, you would use extension poles or bucket trucks to get the antenna high enough to locate the signal, which can take up to 3 hours to do! I and Austin Ratcliffe designed a drone that can autonomously locate the signal and find the strongest signal point in less than 5 minutes to tremendously speed up deployment of wireless services to customers.
What was the biggest hurdle you encountered in your journey?
There are many hurdles we face, but the biggest hurdles we encountered were the engineering efforts required to develop a drone and software, as well as the manufacturing and marketing efforts required to introduce a newly invented drone application to an industry.
What does the future hold for WISPr?
WISPr is getting into the horizontal commercial drone market with our drones, software, and services to drone service providers nationwide. We offer affordable commercial drone platforms, industrial grade cameras, and thermal sensors, and we offer drone tune-ups and service plans to extend their work life. We are also offering the cloud software that integrates with our drones and can be used to streamline customers’ own drone workflows. We will release the Ranger Series drones on April 5, 2021 and Scout Series on May 5, 2021. More information about this can be found at https://wisprsystems.com.
What are your thoughts on the local tech startup scene in Mississippi?
Thanks to people like Eric Hill at the E-Center at Mississippi State University and Tony Jeff at InnovateMS, I see the tech startup scene in Mississippi starting to really grow! Entrepreneurship in general is really starting to take off in Mississippi, which is a great thing to see!
What’s your best advice for aspiring entrepreneurs?
My best advice is to keep your head down and keep working hard, focusing on your goals until you have reached and exceeded them. Do not get discouraged by hard times – learn, adapt, adjust, and keep moving forward. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.