Client Profile: WAEC’s Drones and the Last Mile of Delivery
Drone Delivery Service
When most people think about a future filled with drones, a sky dotted with creature-like devices flitting about overhead is the likely vision that comes to mind. However, if Brandon Eck and Brett Wagner, the two 20-something co-founders of Waec (pronounced WAY-eck) have their way, we’ll also have to pay close attention to what’s going on underfoot.
Waec’s mission is to develop and offer an autonomous ground-drone delivery service for restaurants and retail stores that is quick, inexpensive and environmentally friendly. Affectionately and collectively known as “Spot,” the company’s drones will provide an additional delivery alternative for these businesses that already often operate at thin margins. By reducing the costs for their business customers, the ultimate consumers of these businesses should also benefit from these savings in the form of smaller delivery charges.
Eck, who has an architectural background, is an avid designer, which is evident in the funky but sleek prototype ground drone that Waec has developed. Eck notes that “delivering four-pound items using 4,000-pound vehicles doesn’t make sense anymore. We live in a time where alternative, energy-efficient delivery methods using autonomous systems are now possible. By providing cities with electric autonomous ground drones, local deliveries can now be environmentally friendly and low cost.” Eck envisions a seamless urban integration of autonomous delivery systems that not only provides cities a greener local delivery option, but that is consciously adapted to urban environments and how people interact in those environments.
When he’s not working on Waec matters, the company’s other co-founder, Wagner, is completing a master’s degree in entrepreneurial leadership at Babson College in Wellesley, Massachusetts, which has one of the country’s most prestigious entrepreneurship programs. He shares his colleague’s view that autonomous drones will make a positive impact on our daily lives and in the communities we inhabit. “Our cities are going to drastically change in terms of transportation methods over the coming years,” Wagner observes. “The tech industry is on the verge of perfecting new capabilities that will allow us to perform delivery logistics beyond what most of us can imagine – the fourth industrial age is upon us! Waec’s mission is to be a key influencer for the integration of autonomous ground drones into our neighborhoods.”
Eck and Wagner have assembled a talented team of engineers and developers to help them further refine their products and services. The company’s potential has been recognized by others – Waec is currently a participant in two highly regarded early-stage business incubator programs: the 1776 startup tech incubator in Washington, D.C., and the MassRobotics incubator in Boston.
SGR is proud to have assisted Waec with both intellectual property and corporate matters. The SGR team assisting Waec includes Ryan Varnum in the Firm’s Washington, D.C. Intellectual Property Practice, and Brett Lockwood in the Atlanta Corporate & Technology Transactions Practice.
If Waec has its way, the era of assistive land-based drones is just around the corner, and Waec will help shape that transformation. So, next time you place that online order for a pizza or an iPhone and you want it in a hurry, don’t be surprised if the messenger delivering your desired fare or must-have object is a charming little bot named Spot.
Brett Lockwood is a partner in SGR’s Corporate Practice and chairs the Technology Law Practice.