Founder and CEO, SkyX
Didi has no shortage of expertise when it comes to the world of aviation, aerospace and drones. He served with the Israeli Air Force (IAF) for nearly a decade (2006-2015), as both a captain and drone pilot.
Didi would be involved with drones for six years, and could have easily maintained a solid and stable military career, climbing the ranks through to eventual retirement. But something inside was driving him, restlessly, beyond that predictable route. There was an entrepreneur within – who could sense the huge potential for UAVs on the civilian/industrial side long before they became a household word.
“I realized that while on the military side there were drones of every shape and size, on the commercial side there was virtually nothing,” he says. “I thought: ‘We need something that will fly long-range, be simple to use, small, practical and safe. So I traveled the world, went to a lot of conferences, challenged executives with simple but tough questions, and figured out that the first market would be the energy market. There simply wasn’t an efficient and reliable way to monitor pipelines and other long-range assets.”
SkyX was born of this dream – and Didi’s connections with two very smart people: David Vorsin and Liron Shemesh. Working essentially from coffee shops or other places they could brainstorm and work, the trio produced a prototype and started building the company, going for a period of eight months without any salary.
“It was a period of extreme focus. During this time I was running for 10-15 kilometres every morning. At the same time, I was running a marathon of belief that this project would thrive, even when others couldn’t see it. I think this kind of strong belief ultimately makes the difference between success and failure.”
And then, with a solid prototype and a little bit of luck, Didi was introduced to a major investor who saw the potential and shared the vision.
Soon, Didi and his crew were en route to Canada, starting in a downtown Toronto office that consisted of a single room with no workshop. North America is the logical home to a company looking to capture the oil and gas market.
Since then, the company has expanded dramatically both in scale and in technical accomplishments.
“Compared to other companies in the aviation industry, the world of drones is amazing. With big companies, it’s like trying to move a big ship fifteen degrees off-course; it takes a lot of effort and is almost impossible. But small companies have the agility to provide results much quicker, with advances taking place within weeks.”
SkyX did exactly that, making multiple major technical advances within a few short months. It culminated, eight months after the company was established, with a crucial milestone being reached and a major sense of team accomplishment.
“Some people – well, actually my mother – always asks me: ‘How is work?’” he laughs. “It’s never been work. It’s my life. And now there are people here who want to also achieve this dream. It’s no longer only my dream; it’s their dream and their life as well.
“I’d like to keep doing this for the rest of my life. If I’m capable of leading people into a vision or dream that we can all share – that’s exactly what I want to do.”
And – trust us on this – it’s something Didi does exceptionally well.