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.

The multiple indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity (IDIQ) contract is worth $400 million in subsequent delivery orders.

By Hannan Parvizian, CEO and Co-Founder of Volansi

Today, the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center (AFLCMC) named VOLY Defense Solutions (VDS), a subsidiary of Volansi, Inc., as an official vendor of the United States Air Force’s Skyborg Vanguard Program. The multiple indefinite-delivery / indefinite-quantity (IDIQ) contract is worth $400 million in subsequent delivery orders.

Skyborg vendors will be tasked with designing specific, to-be-determined aspects of the Skyborg experimental aircraft. The goal of having multiple vendors is to establish a diverse and competitive vendor pool with several non-traditional and traditional contractors. The efforts of these combined capabilities will be game-changing to the warfighter.

“Instead of awarding a winner-take-all contract, AFLCMC created a pool of competent companies they can rely on to tackle different parts and problems,” said Hannan Parvizian, CEO and Co-Founder of Volansi. “Put these together and the net result will be a portfolio of innovative, state-of-the-art solutions AFLCMC can pull from.”

So, what is Skyborg?

Simply put, Skyborg is building a foundation of autonomous technology that will create a powerful family of unmanned aircraft vehicles (UAV) to accomplish a wide range of complex mission sets, including those that are too dangerous for manned aircraft. This program will increase overall unmanned capabilities and be a force multiplier for the Air Force.

Fourteen of the “best in breed” aviation companies will work together to integrate autonomous attritable UAV technology with open missions systems to enable manned-unmanned teaming. This foundation of airborne autonomous will enable the Air Force to operate and sustain low-cost, teamed aircraft that can thwart adversaries with quick, decisive actions in contested environments.

What this means for Volansi

Volansi is at the forefront of shifting the logistics of supply chain management by changing the way items move from one place to another. This advancement is accelerating the world’s freedom from the limitations of traditional infrastructure. Think of it as Mobility 4.0. Volansi UAVs can deliver unpredictable supplies, high value materials and critical parts where and when they’re needed most. Customers save time and money by reducing downtime costs and unnecessary, redundant inventory. This autonomous technology will greatly benefit the Air Force as well as optimize the end user experience.

Working alongside such companies as Boeing, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Kratos Unmanned Aerial Systems and Northrop Grumman, Volansi’s participation in Skyborg could also open the door to new opportunities outside the project. “This is a great chance to bring recognition to our unique defense capabilities,” said Parvizian. “I am confident that our work with Skyborg will allow us to expand our service offering in terms of design, development, and production.”

As the leader in autonomous vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) capabilities, Volansi UAVs have the flexibility to takeoff and land wherever needed. This cabability enables aircraft to be runway independent and operate with minimal to zero infrastructure needs, even in the most remote, complicated terrian. Anytime, anywhere.

By Hannan Parvizian

The year 2020 will no doubt go down in history as one to remember (or forget, depending on your view). At Volansi, it’s been both challenging and incredibly exciting. We’ve had an amazing year of company growth and at every twist and turn our extraordinary team has been right there continuing to push the envelope of what’s possible in autonomous flight.

This year alone, we’ve hired a CTO and CFO, and continued to expand our team, and opened a new facility in Bend, Oregon. We’ve partnered with the U.S. Air Force and the North Carolina Department of Transportation to advance drone technology and regulations. We completed the first successful drone delivery of temperature-controlled vaccines within the U.S. and are now conducting routine, autonomous delivery flights daily. And we received $50 million in funding to continue our mission to improve supply chain and mobility issues and provide access to vital goods, especially in hard to reach areas.

To cap off this year of achievement, I’m thrilled to announce that Volansi has been recognized for three prestigious awards – 2020’s Most Reliable Drone Delivery Service by Global Brands Magazine, the Best in Biz Awards, judged each year by editors and reporters from top-tier publications in North America, and the Inc. Best in Business List, an award that recognizes the people and organizations making a positive impact on our community, industry, and society as a whole.

Volansi was awarded these distinctions not only for our advancements in drone technology but our contribution to making the world a more connected place.

We’re honored to be recognized by these organizations as a leader in our industry. As we continue to innovate, we believe that drone delivery will be a key solution to get critical supplies whenever and wherever they are needed. Cheers to a successful 2020 and looking forward to achieving many more milestones to come in 2021.

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

Merck and Volansi have had many collaborations across the years. Together, we helped deliver temperature-sensitive medicines in the Bahamas and Puerto Rico after the devastation of hurricanes Maria and Florence. Although only a first step, these demonstrations foreshadowed how we intend to redefine the biopharmaceutical supply chain of the future.

Today, I’m happy to announce that this future starts now.

Building on our prior work, Volansi and Merck have launched a commercial healthcare drone delivery project in North Carolina. Through this collaboration, we aim to better understand how drones can be used to improve access to healthcare – a critical issue here in eastern North Carolina. The largely rural area is home to 1.4 million people, with many living miles from the nearest pharmacy or clinic. For those suffering from diseases or chronic conditions, having a supply chain that works for them isn’t just about convenience – it’s a matter of life or death.

I believe that drone delivery is a key solution for getting critical supplies whenever and wherever they are needed.

And to prove it, we completed the first successful drone delivery of temperature-controlled medicines within the U.S. During the demonstration, Volansi piloted a VOLY C10 loaded with cold chain medicines from Merck’s Wilson, N.C. manufacturing site to Vidant Healthplex-Wilson, a Vidant Health clinic.

One of the many advantages of using drones for this type of critical cargo delivery is that it requires minimal infrastructure to operate. Our autonomous drones also deliver fragile cargo with a ‘soft touch’, automatically releasing the load once they touchdown at the delivery location. Furthermore, drones can streamline such logistical tasks as order confirmation by delivering temperature trackers and shipping confirmations on the return flight.

The COVID-19 pandemic has made the need for rapid advancements in healthcare supply chain technology abundantly clear. Our pilot program in North Carolina will help answer this need by exploring innovative new delivery options that can make medical supply chains more flexible and responsive.

We are at the cusp of an exciting new endeavor. As we seek FAA approval to expand the project’s scope to additional delivery locations, our vision for a world where everybody has ready access to life-saving medical supplies is becoming clearer by the day.

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

Volansi commended for its cutting edge unmanned aerial technology, capabilities, safety and standards

SAN FRANCISCO, CA, May 18, 2020Volansi, Inc., the leader in autonomous VTOL UAV manufacturing and cargo delivery services, today announces it has received the Airmanship Special Award from the African Drone Forum for its outstanding participation and operational excellence in the Lake Kivu Challenge unmanned aerial vehicle flying competitions.

The Lake Kivu Challenge was part of the 2020 African Drone Forum held in Rwanda in February. A collaboration between the Government of Rwanda, the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID/UKAID), and the World Bank Group, the Forum and Challenge aimed to showcase real-world use cases for autonomous drone delivery across Africa. The Challenge received more than 70 applications from drone companies headquartered in 35 countries, with the top ten finalists invited to put their drones and operators to the test through real-life scenarios at Lake Kivu in Western Rwanda.

“We see Airmanship as a multi-dimensional concept and a mindset that every member of our team strives to embody every day,” said Volansi CEO and Co-Founder, Hannan Parvizian. “We are honored to receive the Airmanship Award from the African Drone Forum organizers and see it as another validation of our ability to continue to transform the way critical goods are transported to the places they are needed most.”

As part of the flying competition, participants underwent rigorous scrutineering of their safety practices, training standards, maintenance procedures, risk mitigation, and concepts of operation. All areas that Volansi excels in.

“Our team was able to leverage the experience we have from our on-going, operational projects already occurring in Africa and elsewhere,” said Mike Jackson, Director of Flight Operations at Volansi and recently retired US Air Force Special Operations Colonel. “That ability to scale over and over is our differentiator. We have operational standards and procedures already in place, which is important for disciplined and professional aviation operations- especially ones that rely on automated flight.”

In addition to having experience within the region and award-winning operational practices, Volansi’s UAVs are uniquely suited to the complicated terrain of Africa due to the hybrid flight system employed in their design that combines electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) with a fixed-wing, “pusher”-driven forward flight mode. This enables Volansi’s drones to complete complex, two-way missions with minimal to zero infrastructure needs. Because the drones fully land at the delivery point, they can deliver and return cargo such as samples for analysis and diagnosis, or parts for repair.

Moving forward, Volansi seeks to continue commercial and humanitarian projects in Africa, with the long-term vision of collaborating with local governments and communities to build the first interconnected delivery drone network within the continent.

Volansi rebrand invites the world to raise their expectations and get excited about the boundless possibilities of autonomous flight.

2020 marks a new decade and at Volansi, we’re ready to define it. After four years of relentless work on every aspect of our business from building our team, to securing funding, to developing our CONOPS, to designing our aircraft and the assembly line to build them; from talking to prospective customers and doing proof of concept demonstrations across continents, we now see our future.

It is to fly anything, anywhere. To provide the means for our customers to ensure that the things that are vital to their business will arrive whenever they are needed, wherever they are needed.

Every step we take moves us one step closer to freeing the world from the limitations of infrastructure by making airborne solutions available regardless of location or infrastructure. We are building a boundless world by continuously driving autonomous flight technology forward– a future where someday in the not too distant future, we can deliver autonomous solutions that reduce the constraints of time and distance.

Our new mission statement sums up our idea:

Using innovative technology to rise above existing logistics solutions, saving time, money, and lives for our customers.

Every team needs a flag to carry into the future. With this self-assured promise comes a fresh visual identity fit to propel Volansi into the future. The identity looks back to look forward. The new logo pays homage to historical pioneering companies such as Ford Motors by using a simple, striking badge that heroes the Volansi ‘V’ within a bird – a symbol synonymous with America that also implies the crossing of borders and the freedom of the skies.

Welcome to the reimagined Volansi. Welcome to the future of flight.

View Press Kit >