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Marco De Nichilo, CEO of Dronely

Dronely at Scottish Business Network

They say that you learn with your first, earn with your second and give back with your third.

As a second-time-around entrepreneur this really resonates with me. I learned so many valuable lessons with my first start-up that have stuck with me.

With Dronely - we are building the UK's biggest and most respected brand in innovative, safe drone operations. We are pushing the boundaries of what these new unmanned flying robots are capable of.

The difference this time round is we are a scale-up, we are already profitable.

This changes the dynamic of our operation significantly. We are not scrambling around trying to raise money. We are already award winning, we have regular income from our growing client list and we are reinvesting in our infrastructure. The goal now is to grow our potential customer base while educating the market and guiding them through the capabilities of these new aerial technologies.

The applications and implications are still being discovered every day and we expect the market to grow significantly in the areas of: construction, agriculture, insurance claims, journalism, real estate, utilities, pipelines, mining, clean energy and cinematography.

The question then is how do we grow our existing customer base, particularly those with high value, regular work - a lot of which will exist in areas south of the border.

One of the ways we can do this is tapping into valuable networks such as the Scottish Business Network.

Last week we were invited to present to the network of London based expat Scots, kindly organised by Russell Dalgleish and Christine Esson and hosted at the St Paul's Cathedral adjacent Shepherd + Wedderburn.

Once a month they meet to network and hear presentations from a range of keynote speakers and entrepreneurs. This month it was the turn of myself, Kendra Byers of Exolta, extolling the virtues of the growing StartEDIN community and Ross Gray telling us about the benefits of their very clever supplier-agnostic cloud management platform.

The group is made up of people from a wide range of industries, investment and financial backgrounds with a common aim of helping young businesses such as Dronely, grow their customer base - specifically in the London area.

I thoroughly enjoyed presenting to the group and it really facilitates an engaging conversation about your company and the myriad potential opportunities in the room to contact exactly the type of customers we can help.

The feedback, ideas about various introductions to be made and in particular some ideas around new ways to task drones for customers were truly useful. I am thankful for the opportunity to tap into this network to build relationships and do industry-leading work around the whole of the UK.