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Meet Up Sonder, the First Crowdsourced Drone Rental and Commercial Pilot Marketplace

BY Alan Perlman
23 February 2017

Los Angeles-based startup Up Sonder is the first drone company to provide crowdsourced drone rentals and commercial pilot operations.

Up Sonder is ready to soar (if you’re wondering about the name, sonder is an anagram for drones).

The first peer-to-peer on-demand drone marketplace, ​Up Sonder recently opened shop in a number of major cities, leveraging UberRUSH’s technology to deliver drones in New York, San Francisco, and Chicago.

Up Sonder is connecting those who own drones with those who want to take flight, leveraging a fact with which many of us in the drone community are quite familiar—that drones have already become a part of everyday life for many people, and their uses have grown far beyond commercial applications.

Making access to drones even simpler is UberRUSH. The trusted delivery platform is working with Up Sonder to deliver drones in a way that has never been done before, with same day deliveries in as little as 30 minutes.

If you needed another reason to be interested, Up Sonder celebrated a huge win at the International Drone Expo (IDE) a few months ago when they won top prize and were one of three companies chosen to receive $100,000 in funding from Singh Ventures as part of IDE Drone Pitchfest Competition 2016.

We’ve also added Up Sonder to our list of 70+ Drone Companies to Watch in 2017, given their strong showing over the last several months, and the promise we see in the marketplace for a service that makes drones and drone services more readily accessible for everyone.

Drone Rentals with Up Sonder

Here’s an example of how drone rentals work with Up Sonder (looks pretty painless, right?):

Up Sonders_rental example

For those who want to rent drones, Up Sonder eliminates the hassle of traveling with a drone or spending large amounts to enjoy a quality drone.

Travelers can take the ultimate selfie without spending too much money, vloggers can get enhanced content, sports enthusiasts can get professional coverage, real estate agents a competitive advantage, and wedding photographers can create (even more) ​​unforgettable memories.

Even folks interested in commercial applications for drones, such as farming or urban planning, may not want to make an investment of several thousand dollars out of the gate. Some may prefer to rent for a while until they can confirm the return will be worth the investment required to purchase a drone, or may choose just to rent here and there, based on their needs.

Hiring Certified Drone Pilots for Commercial Operations

Maintaining a fleet of drones and having a pilot on payroll, plus travel expenses, doesn’t always make sense. Commercial industries are supported by Up Sonder via business accounts, and individuals with commercial needs can also use their site to connect with certified pilots for individual missions.

Up Sonder’s nationwide FAA certified drone pilots are able and ready to help big companies find more options when inspecting cell towers, construction companies find more access and cost-effective solutions, or help big insurance companies handle claims when disaster strikes.

Really, this service could be useful for any commercial application where the company is uncertain of how frequently they’ll need to use a drone service, but knows that it will be needed here and there.

Here’s an example of how you find a pilot that suits your needs using Up Sonder:

Up Sonder work example

Protections and Income for Drone Owners and Pilots

Up Sonder allows for providers and established drone businesses to earn even more by leveraging their operational experience, and offering it on the Up Sonder platform as a service (as shown in the image above).

Drone owners who aren’t necessarily professional pilots, and pilots who have extra UAVs they don’t need to use all at once, can both supplement their income by renting out their drones, knowing their equipment is protected by Up Sonder’s $1,000,000 liability insurance policy.

Providers can easily accept and manage bookings from within the platform, and can also access payments, scheduling, inventory management, customer messaging, and sales through the online portal. Drone renters can schedule and make their payment quickly through Apple Pay or other methods on the platform.

“Our on-demand marketplace allows users to access drones in an affordable, safe, and informed way like never before. Giving the industry and the public this kind of access opens up new use cases. It’s the modern day kite flying and the future of dog walking.​ Everyone should give [drones] a try, and now they can.”

– Derek Waleko, CEO of Up Sonder

With aggressive plans to expand across the U.S. in 2017, going international shortly thereafter, Up Sonder will be working with ​AirMap​ technology to create the ultimate app to control all drones, coming in 2017.

AirMap just announced a mega-impressive Series B round of funding, which raised their total funds to $43 million. We can only imagine big things to come for Up Sonder as well, with their innovative approach to making drones and professional drone services available for everyone.


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