Revamping a startup’s entire tech stack can sound daunting for a founder. After all, founders are told to ‘move fast and break things’ – an adage that focuses on moving a product forward as quickly as possible. Going back and re-evaluating core processes of the business takes time.
But that is exactly what Fyve By, the Atlanta-based aviation startup focused on ground and hangar safety, did earlier this year.
The team told Hypepotamus that they got strong early traction from alpha users, but they realized a snag in their technology. Specifically, they realized the cameras were great for their initial proof of concept, but they weren’t reliable in different weather and lighting conditions. That made it difficult for hangars across the country to think about deploying the technology.
BEHIND THE MOVE TO LIDAR
They started testing out LiDAR (laser imaging, detection, and ranging) this summer. LiDAR is an important part of building autonomous vehicles, but also has practical applications within precision agriculture, mapping, and robotics. But the Fyve By team realized it had strong applications for aviation ground safety as well, so they moved to fully implement the technology this fall.
A new tech stack “much more reliable, much more consistent, and much safer,” co-founder Benjamin Youngstrom said.
“The reliability and consistency of that data is going to be what the people on the ground actually need to operate around the clock 365 days a year,” added co-founder Preston LaVangie.
The move is all about ensuring they are building technology that will service their aviation customers in the long term, Youngstrom added.
“Aviation companies are convinced that they need to buy a new thing, but then their crews don’t use it and nothing gets better. That’s a consistent issue. And it’s why we’ve taken the extra time to stop and scrap our old tech stack and build a new tech stack… Even though we’re going to end up making a lot less money in the short term to do this. We are focused on making sure that we’re not just throwing this hollow promise with the idea of maximizing shareholder value and jumping ship. Instead, we’re making sure that we’re building a tangible, reliable platform for an industry that is getting more complex,” Youngstrom told Hypepotamus. “We’re not a traditional startup. We are an aviation business through and through.”
GAINING TRACTION AND FUNDING
A lot has changed within Atlanta-based Fyve By since Hypepotamus last spoke in February of this year. Beyond adding LiDAR technology, the team closed a $676,000 pre-seed round last month from Atlanta Seed Company.
The team had bootstrapped up until that point, but had grown strong investor relationships over the last several months that helped shorten the fundraising process.
Fyve By is also backed by Matt Yoels, former VP at Salesforce and Global Director of Sales at Pardot. The team has grown from the two co-founders to a team of five over the course of 2023.
With the new funding and tech stack, the team told Hypepotamus that they are focused on getting their months-long best test with over 50 airplane hangars up and running.