We’ve spent a few minutes with Varun, founder of Hammer Flights, in our latest blog introducing the startups that have joined our latest accelerator cohort.
Q: Who is the founder behind Hammer Flights, and what is your background?
A: I am Varun Sarwal, founder and CEO at Hammer Flights. Hammer’s goal is to push the boundaries of human geospatial knowledge by using intelligent flying platforms. Currently, Hammer is building an adaptive flight automation system for the commercial drone industry, which can automate a large selection of commercial tasks using modern UAVs.
My background is in computer science, robotics and product development. Formerly, I co-founded a drone manufacturing startup, which built fixed-wing VTOL drones for large area surveys in the UK. More recently, I was the lead engineer at a startup building swarming intelligence for a fleet of drones.
Q: Tell us the story behind your startup – why did you start your company?
A: I have been working with drones and autonomy software for the past 5 years. My earliest interaction with drones was when I recruited by a company building drones for the military. Through all my experiences, I was convinced that drones and intelligent software is going to be THE computing platform of the future.
However, there was a problem. Many robotic solutions that were being built were purely because of the ever growing interest in autonomous systems.There’s nothing wrong with that, but I found automation for automation’s sake to be an unfulfilling endeavour. I then came across NASA’s Voyager (deep space) missions, and was inspired by how robotic solutions are being used to answer the most fundamental questions about the universe. I made a resolve to do the same for the drone industry, wherein the main objective of a drone company would be to expand the horizon of human geospatial knowledge. And therefore, Hammer was born.
Q: What does success look like for you?
A: I envision a future where drones are ubiquitously deployed all over the world and can be tasked in real-time to procure any geospatial data at our beck and call, which would help us build and maintain a detailed knowledge-base of the world we live in.
Q: What’s your biggest achievement so far?
A: Hammer is now being used by hundreds of drone operators around the world – some of these include search and rescue personnel. It’s incredibly motivating to see Hammer being used for search and rescue operations.
Q: What are your plans for your startup over the next six months?
A: We’ve recently launched an enterprise program at Hammer, wherein we develop customised automation solutions for enterprises. This allows enterprises to capture tailored data for their specific use-case. Our aim is to deliver our current enterprise commitments over the next 6 months, and also scale the team at Hammer so that we can deploy and support more solutions in the upcoming year.
Q: Tell us something interesting about yourself?
A: I’ve been both a startup founder and a startup employee before, which has given me unique perspectives and learnings on how to build a strong founding team and work culture at a startup.