Aria, formerly known as CyPhy Works was a US-based drone manufacturer that specialized in developing highly advanced drones. Their flagship product was called PARC - Persistent Aerial Reconnaissance and Communication, and was a tethered drone that had a particularly long flight time - instead of hours one could measure it in days. The drone was also known for its ability to sustain harsh weather conditions, making it perfect for “rough use”. As such, many of Aria’s clients were related to law enforcement and the military. Aria also targeted clients related to first response, telecommunications and the oil and gas industry.
There are various reasons why Aria ultimately failed. What they all have in common is that they’re complex in and of themselves. For example, Aria’s founder, Helen Greiner left the company back in 2018. When a company loses its founder, momentum shifts. The core philosophy of the company is being “sucked out” and replaced by someone else.
Naturally, that’s likely not the only reason. Another reason could have been Aria’s decision to move away from producing drones and drone technology to focusing on developing smart AI systems and drone programs. Aria re-launched in January 2019 and said that a number of their partners were focused on collecting and storing massive amounts of information using Aria’s drones. However, nobody could offer Aria’s partners the possibility to quickly turn the data into actionable insights.
Aria discovered a new possibility in the market that nobody else was offering at that time. And for sure, looking for new ways to serve their clients is always a healthy sign, but this time, Aria took things a little too far.
Since there was no other company offering that particular service, it might have been a sign that demand really wasn’t that big after all. And Aria might have gotten the wrong impression that since their actual partners craved the technology to store and interpret massive amounts of information, that was also the case with the rest of the drone market.
Ultimately that proved not to be the case and quite likely, commercial demand and regulations were just too slow to catch up with the supply of drone solutions.
It’s an example where a company offers a solution to a problem that really doesn’t exist yet on such a large scale that it’s possible to monetize from it. In other words, the company was way ahead of itself.