While teens are spending their free time at the movies, hanging out with friends, swiping away on social media, and any other carefree activity, 19-year-old George Matus is busy building one of the world’s fastest drone producing empires.
His Utah-based company, Teal, aims to create modular and fast drones enabled with onboard computing and user-friendly design, making flight effortless for everyone.
Matus’ love for the unmanned flight industry began at age ten, and two years after, he became a test pilot of a leading drone company while designing and building one of these flying machines himself.
“Between when I was 11 and 16, I flew everything on the market, and I got frustrated with what was out there and by what I wasn’t able to do yet,” Matus said. He wanted a drone that didn’t restrict him to only taking pictures or only racing. “It got to the point where I wanted to push the limits,” he said.
Now flash forward to eleven years, and the young CEO has revolutionized the drone industry with what he calls “the Swiss Army Knife of drones.” The drone flies at over 75 mph, records in 4k video, and is fully customizable.
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Even while in school, George would spend his afternoons and evenings playing prototyping, designing Teal’s website and fundraising, giving form to the abstract product in his mind.
In 2014(when he was 17), he started Teal, raising a $150,000 pre-revenue funding to get things started and has continued to show promise ever since. In December 2015, his company closed $2.8 million in seed funding to quicken growth, and to date, Teal has raised more than $3 million, with plans to climb higher and grow production further.
“Raising money was pretty hard, especially just starting out,” Matus said. “My dad was driving me around because I didn’t have my license — I had braces — so it took a while.”
He believes his drones will be revolutionary. Fully equipped with artificial intelligence so it can recognize faces and pick them out in crowds. This feature will help the police department find lost children; cities inspect buildings, ranchers monitor their herds, and if it all goes according to plan, his drones will transform the way we live just as the iPhone did.
Teal has been featured by the United States DoD’s Defense Innovation Unit as a “Blue sUAS.” It has also been listed on the GSA Schedule and has received an ATO from the United States Air Force.
Matus believes that drones can be much more than flying cameras and should be accessible to everyone.
“The advice I would give to young entrepreneurs is to really find what interests you, and then it doesn’t feel like work,” Matus said. “This is my passion, and it’s what I love to do.”
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