Smith’s distinguished career and expertise in global supply chain logistics to further bolster market leading VTOL drone delivery services 

 

SAN FRANCISCO, May 18, 2021 – Volansi, the leader in vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) point-to-point drone delivery services, today announced the appointment of Marvin Smith as the company’s new Senior Vice President of Global Sales and Business Development. In his new position, Smith will build a customer-centric, partner-engaging, and high-performance organization, continuing to position Volansi as the global leader in drone delivery for years to come.  

Smith comes to Volansi from FedEx Worldwide Services, where he was managing director for over two decades. In that role, his group partnered with some of FedEx’s most strategic customers in delivering global business solutions, managing close to $1B in revenue. He was pivotal in the design and creation of Worldwide Services, the global sales arm of FedEx. His experience there also included work in operations, field sales, and global sales training. 

“We’re thrilled to have Marvin join our team. At this stage of our growth journey, it was critical for us to find someone that had a people-first focus, customer mindset, global revenue expertise, and an intimate understanding of the global supply chain landscape,” said Volansi CEO and Co-founder Hannan Parvizian.

Smith’s 30-plus years of experience at FedEx will help Volansi build a team that takes its market expansion efforts to the next level. Having worked in various verticals, he will provide a unique perspective of supply chain challenges and opportunities from around the world.

“I’m grateful to be joining the Volansi team. Knowing the great people, market-leading solutions, and an ecosystem vision to maximize growth, it’s the perfect opportunity to leverage my experience and be part of a world-changing growth story similar to what we did at FedEx,” Smith said. “The building blocks are in place to change logistics as the world knows it and help us grow exponentially.” 

Leader in autonomous drone delivery welcomes Mike to the executive leadership team to shape culture and lead recruiting efforts for top industry talent

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA, March 9, 2021 – Volansi, the leader in autonomous vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) point-to-point drone delivery services, today announced the appointment of Senior Vice President of People Mike Guerchon. Mike will lead human resource efforts to build dynamic teams of high-performing people and shape the culture of the rapidly growing company to reach its maximum organizational potential.

“We are so excited to have Mike join the Volansi team. Mike’s hire comes at a crucial point for our business as we’ve grown our operations significantly. Mike’s leadership will help us refine our talent management process and continue to build an engaged, inclusive, and high-performing culture,” said Volansi co-Founder and CEO Hannan Parvizian. His passion for people and nearly three decades of leadership experience will be invaluable as further our commitment to putting people first and creating a world-class organization.”


As an accomplished human resource and workplace executive leader, Mike has more than 25 years of experience in both ground-level start-ups and global public companies. Throughout his career, he has focused on building dynamic teams of high-performing people and shaping the culture of the rapidly growing worldwide organization and the long-term growth of the company.

“I couldn’t be more thrilled to be joining Volansi in the midst of this tremendous growth trajectory. I was attracted to the company by its outstanding culture and the leadership team’s commitment to its people,” said Volansi Senior Vice President of People Mike Guerchon. “The company is at a unique point and I am energized and honored to help shape the future of Volansi.”

Prior to joining Volansi, Mike was the vice president of human resources at RealWear, a knowledge transfer company that provides software and hardware to help people improve safety and increase productivity at work. Mike has led organizational transformations in recruiting, leadership development, training, employee relations, compensation, performance management, and engagement. As chief human resource officer at Riverbed Technology, Mike helped lead the organization through its IPO and rapid growth in revenue from $2 million to $1.2 billion and employees, rising from 60 to 2,800. Additionally, under his command, the company was recognized in 2014 as #4 in the world in Glassdoors’s rating of “Culture and Values” and in the top 20 worldwide for 2013 and 2014 of “Best Place to Work.”

Former Assistant Secretary of the US Air Force brings deep expertise in unlocking defense spending in R&D and emerging technologies to venture-backed companies

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA, March 3, 2021 – Volansi, the leader in autonomous, vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) middle-mile drone delivery services, backed by Lightspeed and Icon Ventures, today announced the appointment of Dr. Will Roper, the former Assistant Secretary of the US Air Force, to its Board of Directors. Dr. Roper will focus on the company’s strategy, operations, and growth in defense markets.

In his prior role, Dr. Roper served as Assistant Secretary of the US Air Force for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics, where he oversaw an annual budget of $60 billion. He was responsible for all research and development, test, production, modernization, and logistics efforts for the Air Force and Space Force, and was instrumental in accelerating acquisition processes as well as fostering a disruptive innovative culture inside of government.

“Dr. Will Roper joins Volansi’s board with a reputation as a transformative, forward-looking leader,” said Volansi CEO and co-Founder Hannan Parvizian. “His deep expertise in emerging technologies and the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in logistics operations will be instrumental in aiding Volansi’s mission to change the future of supply chain. I’m thrilled to welcome Dr. Roper into the Volansi team and look forward to his leadership as we continue to push the boundaries of autonomous flight.”

While at the Air Force, Dr. Roper made large strides to open defense market opportunities to commercial companies and private investors, spearheading initiatives like AFWERX and Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) reform. He led Air Force-wide technology transformations for software development, artificial intelligence, and digital engineering. He also initiated high tech programs for hypersonic weapons, autonomous drones, and a militarized internet of things, all while overseeing the day-to-day readiness of over 5,000 military aircraft and support systems.

“Commercial technology companies like Volansi are leading a wave of disruptive innovation for defense missions,” said Dr. Roper. “Bringing speed and agility historically absent in government procurement, many vendors have early revenue-generating opportunities in national security as a path to commercial success. Volansi is uniquely positioned in the commercial UAV market because of their focus on cargo and logistics, both huge components of modern militaries. I am excited to help them think through opportunities to bring on-demand, life-saving capabilities to men and women in uniform.”

Earlier in his career, Dr. Roper was the founding Director of the Pentagon’s Strategic Capabilities Office (SCO), which leverages existing government and commercial systems to solve the military’s most pressing problems. His programs spanned concepts like hypervelocity artillery missile defense, multi-purpose missiles, smartphone-navigating weapons, big-data enabled sensing, 3D-printed systems, standoff arsenal planes, autonomous mini-fighters, and swarming drones, demonstrating the world’s largest swarm in 2017.

Volansi’s relationships with the Air Force and Department of Defense are well-established. The company was awarded a Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) through the Department of the Air Force Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR) Center of Excellence innovation program. Volansi was also named an official vendor of the United States Air Force’s Skyborg Vanguard Program.

Volansi partners with three FAA BEYOND program participants working toward the same goal

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA, February 16, 2021 – Volansi, a leader in vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) middle-mile drone delivery services, has partnered with three of the nine participants in the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) BEYOND program to accelerate the integration of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) into the National Airspace System (NAS). Volansi is working directly with the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT), the North Dakota Department of Transportation and the University of Alaska Fairbanks for this effort.

“We are really excited to participate in BEYOND and help get us one step closer to being free from the limitations of our current ground infrastructure,” said Hannan Parvizian, Volansi CEO and co-founder. “Each one of our partners are unique and undertaking projects essential in performing the research and testing required to safely integrate drones into the national airspace.”

In the summer of 2020, Volansi announced a teaming agreement with NCDOT to execute middle-mile drone delivery projects in North Carolina. Not long after, the VOLY C10 began an on-going project delivering temperature-controlled medicine and routine vaccines from Merck’s manufacturing facility to patients at Vidant Healthplex-Wilson. Volansi continues to work with NCDOT to gather data on drone delivery programs and how they could be incorporated long-term into the current transportation infrastructure and regulations.

Last fall, Volansi partnered with the Northern Plains UAS Test Site (NPUASTS) to support Vantis, North Dakota’s statewide UAS network, which enables flights beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS). After a competitive selection process, the VOLY C10 was the only drone selected to integrate and test Vantis’ technologies, such as Command and Control (C2) links or ground-based Detect and Avoid (DAA). Data captured from the successful test flights will be used to develop standard requirements that will apply to any aircraft flying on the network.

The University of Alaska Fairbanks has been instrumental in Volansi’s research and development efforts and is a partner in the Pacific and Arctic region.

BEYOND is a continuation of the FAA’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Integration Pilot Program (IPP) that was implemented in October 2017. The goal of BEYOND is to continue developing the partnerships that have already been established, build on the progress, and tackle the remaining challenges to ensure safe integration of drones, like Volansi’s VOLY C10, in the NAS.

“Our goal is to utilize our VOLY C10 drone to provide the required data and lessons learned through various exercises to help regulatory teams and policymakers within the FAA and The Department of Transportation inform regulations, policy, and guidance to streamline the approval processes for UAS integration,” said Parvizian. “These projects will help to unlock the skies for drone delivery.”

By Hannan Parvizian, CEO and Co-Founder of Volansi

Mark Mesler, Volansi CFO

Today I am excited to introduce Mark Mesler as our new Chief Financial Officer.

A start-up veteran, Mark has a long history of commercializing and scaling emerging technologies. As Vice President of Finance and Investor Relations at Bloom Energy, Mark played an integral role in taking the company through several funding rounds and an eventual IPO. He has also worked as Chief Financial Officer and Vice President of Operations at Aquest Systems and as Director of Finance at KLA-Tencor.

Having recently raised $50 million in Series B financing, Volansi is set to take our mission of freeing the world from the limits of infrastructure to a whole new level. The wealth of operations-centric experience and impressive track record for driving financial performance that Mark brings to the table will be essential to us achieving this mission.

As CFO, Mark will spearhead Volansi’s financial and capital raising initiatives. He will also be charged with implementing infrastructure to enable the company to strategically scale to meet its global market demands.

After years of working to transform the way global companies procure their critical energy needs, Mark says he is excited about the opportunity to transform the way businesses address their critical logistics requirements.

“Whether it be delivering spare parts to remote industrial sites or life-saving medication during a disaster relief effort, Volansi is already proving the many benefits of delivery drones,” Mark told me. “I’m thrilled to be a part of a company that is having such a positive impact on the world.”
I’m equally as thrilled to welcome Mark to our Leadership Team and I’m looking forward to working together as we continue to redefine supply chains using autonomous delivery drone technology.

 

Read Next: Press Release- Volansi Names Former Bloom Energy VP of Finance & Investor Relations as New CFO

By Hannan Parvizian, CEO and Co-Founder of Volansi

We have some big and exciting news to share: Volansi has closed its Series B round of financing, having raised $50 million. The round was led by Icon Ventures and included all our existing investors, including LightSpeed Ventures, Y Combinator, and One Planet, and saw the addition of new investors, including Harpoon Ventures and Graphene Ventures.

Icon Ventures is a Palo Alto and San Francisco-based venture capital firm with over $1 billion under management. They specialize in Series B and C financing of exciting technologies with visionary teams. They understand what makes a company a category winner- shown time and again by their portfolio of successful exits, which includes enviable tech companies such as Aster Data (Teradata), Bill.com (BILL), FireEye (FEYE), 41st Parameter (Experian), Infinera (INFN), MoPub (Twitter), Opcity (News Corp), Palo Alto Networks (PANW), Proofpoint (PFPT) and Teladoc (TDOC).

Building on our Momentum

This is the third equity round for Volansi, bringing our total funding to $75 million (USD).
So, what do we plan to do with it? For starters, we’re going to accelerate the use of drone delivery in the US and global emerging markets.

With the support of our Series A partners, we developed and brought to market first-of-their-kind autonomous drones and launched select customer projects around the world – changing the face of the VTOL UAV market as we know it. The Series B financing allows Volansi to build on this momentum.

This is great news for you. We know you want us to continue pushing the envelope of mobility and robotics. We know you want us to change the face of logistics. And we know you want us to continue launching new projects and scaling current ones, both in emerging markets around the world and especially here in the US.

This funding will help make this happen.

With just over 65 team members in Northern California, Arizona, and Africa, we will continue to grow our team – adding engineers, developers, and operators, and building our support and success teams to reinforce our growing projects across the globe.

I send a heartfelt thank you to our investors and advisors for their continued confidence, to our customers and partners who continue to amaze us with their passion, support, and feedback, and of course to the entire team here at Volansi.

There’s lots to do- and we’re all on board and excited to make it happen.

Now it’s time to get back to work on our mission: changing the way things move from one place to another and accelerating the world’s freedom from the limitations of traditional infrastructure.

 

Click here to read the full announcement of Volansi’s Series B funding