Team Leader: Josh Phifer WG’17
Team Members: Vincent Kuchar WG’17, Nichin Sreekantaswamy GEE’17, Chia-Wei Lin GEN’17, Hsu Shih-Yao GEN’16
For livestock ranchers who spend significant time and money monitoring resources over large areas, Barn Owl provides drone hardware and software for autonomous data gathering.
What’s new and exciting about your business?
Barn Owl empowers ranchers with information to make their operations more profitable and sustainable. We use autonomous, long-range drones and networked sensors to capture data over large, remote areas, and our analytics help ranchers improve management of livestock, natural resources, and wildlife.
How did you come up with this idea?
Josh grew up on a ranch in Wyoming, so he knows how difficult it is to monitor and manage resources over large areas. He also spent 12 years in the Air Force, where he saw how drones completely changed our ability to monitor large areas of remote territory.
What does it mean to you to be one of the eight Finalists in the Wharton Business Plan Competition?
Solving problems for livestock ranchers is not an easy sell in Philadelphia, so I am happy the community is helping us tackle this real-world problem. It’s not just about drones flying over ranches; it’s about ensuring the long-term sustainability of our food producing land. UPenn has some of the world’s brightest drone experts, and we need to leverage their abilities to have an impact on issues that have a lasting impact on society.
If you win the Perlman Grand Prize ($30,000 cash prize, $10,000 in legal services, $5,000 in accounting/strategy services, GLG Share Fellowship), what will you do with the money?
Most of our development effort will be in software that seamlessly integrates data into the lives and decision processes of ranch managers. The prize money will enable us to develop integrated hardware and software prototypes to prove product-market fit. After product-market fit is achieved, we will pursue presales next fall to help fund full product development.