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Knoxville News Sentinel Showcases DataFlyte’s Capital Raise

Knoxville startup DataFlyte, which has patented technology that gives utilities the ability to read meters from the air, has received its first outside capital raise of $600,000 to launch the business.

The capital has allowed DataFlyte to secure office space, hire four employees, receive approvals from the Federal Aviation Administration, finalize its patent applications and secure an airplane, said president and co-founder Jack Dischner. Read more of this Knoxville New Sentinel profile by Amy Nolan

Venture Tennessee’ Features DataFlyte

(by Milt Capps, Venture Tennessee)  DataFlyte, the Knoxville provider of technology and services for reading utilities’ meters from airborne platforms, “just locked-down our first round” of capital, said Jack Dischner, its CEO, president and majority owner. Dischner told VNC the company raised $450K of an original $600K goal, with $400K of that from Blank Slate Ventures (BSV), based in Chattanooga. The cap table now has about 10 individuals and entities, including Dischner and co-founder Dan Morse, an attorney and technologist. That cap-table tally may be about to change, again. Dischner and his board of directors meeting today to consider terms offered on Friday by another Chattanooga investor, which would likely take the total raise to $650K, including previous investment by BSV, friends and founders. This story will be updated, as warranted. Asked how DataFlyte equity ended-up in Chattanooga, Dischner said, “We had numerous meetings here and they did not come to fruition.” Few potential investors truly appreciate what a distraction protracted capital raises, with important pitches sometimes coming several times in a week, are for entrepreneurial management teams, said Dischner. He pitched in 13 meetings before being introduced to BSV by Knoxville-based Geoff Robson, a business-development and investment advisor (3 Degrees Business Development). Not far along into the meeting at BSV, Dischner said he recognized that BSV co-founder and lead investor Lex Tarumianz understood DataFlyte. The meeting ended. About “10 minutes” into his drive back to Knoxville, Dischner’s cellphone range. It was BSV saying, “We’re in.” The deal closed in July, Dischner recalled. BSV shows a baker’s-dozen investments on its portfolio page, including an exit. It was not the...

Knoxville News Sentinel Features DataFlyte

(by Carly Harrington, Knoxville News Sentinel)  Jack Dischner was in his yard three years ago when a utility meter reader in a white truck drove by his house. While the technology for reading meters has advanced since the days of walking door to door, Dischner was convinced there had to be a better way. The result is DataFlyte, a Knoxville startup that gives utilities the ability to read gas and water meters at residential and commercial properties from the air. “What typically takes 40 man-days a month, we can do the same in six hours,” said Dischner, president and co-founder of DataFlyte. The company, which debuted its aerial data collection system at the 2014 Kentucky/Tennessee Water Professionals Conference in Chattanooga last month, uses a patented process to collect and manage meter data through a proprietary set of equipment and software that it developed. With five antennas secured to a Cessna 172 or 182 plane, a pilot will make two passes per mile, collecting a wide path of data from existing automated meter-reading technology. The software enables the pilot to see which houses’ data has or hasn’t been collected. It can capture readings from 6,000 meters in an hour while burning less fuel in a year than “drive-by” meter readings do in a month, Dischner said. “With speed and efficiency, we can read meters in near real time,” he said. “All we need is six hours of clear weather flying time.” Utilities are required by law to read meters at least once a month. Dischner said his company can reduce the billing cycle approximately 80 percent while increasing efficiency up...

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