The Miami-based seller of drones, which also has an office in Colombia, has grown to 15 employees since launching in 2014. With a strong business and marketing plan in place, the business recently secured $300,000 from two investors plus $20,000 from a bank loan. Sales have increased to $1 million from $5,000.
Today, the company is “one of the biggest suppliers and distributors for drones in Colombia,” says founder Stanley Pacheco.
Dream X Drones sells unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), software and services for a variety of uses, including photography, data collection and analysis. Drones, he said, are used in industries such as real estate, agriculture, mapping and even fishing. His drones, for example, collect data from the sugar cane fields of Colombia. The collected information is used to improve the fields and introduce new technology to farmers.
“We are getting very strong in the South Florida market,” he said. “For videographers and photographers, this is the next level as a powerful tool to use in their different fields. We also do training, teaching all types of people, but primarily photographers and small business owners who want to introduce drones in their business.”
Pacheco has come a long way from his days in the digital printing business in Puerto Rico, where he felt that the market was saturated.
“I felt that I was in a field where I was one of the last ones to enter,” said the Colombian-born Pacheco, whose parents also are entrepreneurs.
That enlightening moment and a news story led Pacheco to the emerging industry of UAVs. While in the process of starting the drone company, he attended an event in Homestead, where he met consultants from the Florida SBDC at FIU, the small business development center at Florida International University’s College of Business. The Florida SBDC at FIU offers no-cost consulting to business owners on subjects such as growth acceleration, international business, market analysis, government contracting, financial analysis, start-up assistance, business continuation, training and more.
Pacheco met with an SBDC at FIU consultant to discuss his business plan. Then he met another SBDC at FIU consultant, who advised on marketing and government contracting. He said he is now taking advantage of the center’s financial guidance.
“It’s amazing to work with them,” Pacheco said. “They know very well what they are talking about.”
The advisory, he said, has helped the company become more focused. An economics graduate from the Universidad Externado de Colombia in Bogota, Pacheco said he recommends that business owners go to the SBDC at FIU for guidance no matter their background.
“I have a lot of experience, and I learned a lot,” he said. “Many people think they know everything but there’s always room for improvement. Most of the knowledge they give you is 100 percent applicable right away.”