April 30, 2014 -- It's not a bird, nor a plane, but an advertising drone.
Entrepreneur GauravJit Singh is joining the ranks of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos in hoping to introduce commercial use of drones in the U.S.
Singh is CEO and founder of DroneCast, a company that uses drones to advertise with banners in the sky. Singh launched the first advertising drone over the skies of Philadelphia, where he studied bio-engineering at Drexel.
On Monday, he successfully flew a drone over the City of Brotherly Love with a company banner.
Since then, multiple companies have contacted Singh each day, but he said, "We’re not doing ads for clients just yet. We want to get our name out there."
So far, he hasn't flown the drone publicly because the weather has been wet or windy. But he said he plans to fly a drone again on Friday.
In the next six to eight months, he said he hopes to bring his advertising fliers to New York and Los Angeles.
He's still determining pricing, he said, but he may charge $100 a day. The clients who are ready to fly include travel agencies and restaurants, he said, noting that he also received a request from a company that wants to advertise in Miami.
He has so far spent about $10,000 to $15,000 in about two months on expenses, he said, including four drones.
The main investor for the native of Princeton, N.J., is his father, who is president of luxury travel company Palace Tours.
Singh, who tried to launch two companies previously, said he wasn't enjoying his studies, so he decided to take a leave of absence from school.
"I wanted to see if I could start a business or switch to a business major. I thought this would be a great time to test that out," he said.
With four friends who are part-time employees, Singh has invested in four drones that fly about 25 feet into the air, though they can go as high as 1,200 feet.
The inspiration for the company name came from one of Mark Cuban's early companies, Broadcast.com.
"Drones can use things to broadcast things as well," Singh said.
Singh's previous two companies were a website job board for high school students and a prosthetic company.
"It was an advanced prosthetic device that would allow me to control hands with your muscle signals in an intuitive way," he said.
Singh said he has met with attorneys who tell him that what he's doing is legal, but he is willing to follow any standards the Federal Aviation Administration may implement in the future concerning drones.
"Safety is my first priority," Singh said, who added that he works as a volunteer EMT in New Jersey. "I deal with safety every day and I would not want anyone to get hurt with my device."