Dan Held more or less fits the mold of your Silicon Valley entrepreneur.
He always want to fly model planes as a kid, but they were just too expensive. He speaks with a barely noticeable Texas “y’all.” He moved to San Francisco, where his full-time job is with a bitcoin startup. That’s on-top of a bursting resume of other startups and mobile apps that he created in his free-time.
His San Francisco apartment is filled with two DJI Phantoms, some cheap toy drones and homemade FPV racing drones. The FPV drones belong to his roommate, Kevin Johnson, a software developer. Held says his roommate is the reason his latest startup, Hover, exists.
“Kevin bought a Phantom II Vision+,” Held said. “We take it out usually on weekends to Golden Gate Park and do loops around the racing field.”
But they noticed things missing when they flew: a timer to know how long you had been flying. Weather data. News. Knowledge of whether or not you can legally fly in that area.
“We really liked drones, but there wasn’t an app filling our needs,” Held said.
Like most business deals in the Silicon Valley startup world begin, the two roommates, Held and Johnson, merged their skill sets. Johnson is the engineer, and Held is the marketing, design and “idea” guy.
“It’s the one stop solution for drone hobbyists,” Held said.
The free app features include a flight readiness dashboard, real-time weather and an aggregated news feed.
And then there’s the pinnacle: a no-fly zone feature.
“It’s an open-source project,” Held said.
“This is the solution for the White House incident,” Held said. “Our app helps people find areas that are safe to fly in.”
The app has over 2,500 downloads so far and Held said he continues to make improvements to it. Hover has even partnered with the NYC Drone Film Festival to enable voting for the ‘Audience Choice’ award.
“If you have feedback, email us, let us know,” he said. “We’re the kind of developers that will write back to you.”