Tim Nilson, founder of Lumenier and GetFPV.com, which were recently named as GrowFL Companies To Watch for 2016, likes to build businesses that can ride waves of popular trends all the way to business success. He founded a tech based music startup that was one of the first to create musical ringtones for mobile phones. He sold that company to Sony Music in the early 2000s. Now, Nilson and his companies are riding the wave of exploding drone popularity.
"Lumenier is a designer and manufacturer of high performance drone racing and first person viewer equipment," Nilson said. "GetFPV is the largest online speciality retailer in the U.S. with 6,000 SKUs across the FPV and drone categories. We provide all the equipment you need to build these drones from the carbon-fiber airframes to propellers and cameras."
Nilson started the companies in his spare time while working with Sony Music and now employs 35 worldwide. "In 2011, drones weren't very popular, but I was fascinated by the possibilities." he said. "I realized there were opportunities to make new products that weren't in existence yet and also products that could use improvements. It grew so quickly I knew I could make it work so I quit my job, moved to Florida and started working on this drone startup out of our house. Now we're breaking ground on a 24,000 sq ft facility in downtown Sarasota."
Nilson values the affirmation of his company's progress that being name a GrowFL Company To Watch brings. "It’s a great honor to be recognized in that way," he said. "We feel like when you're keeping your head down and working hard, it's good to get outside feedback from something like GrowFL that has identified us among so many other Florida companies."
Nilson's advice to aspiring entrepreneurs is to find your wave to ride. "Pick a space that is seeing growth," he said. "That means it's not yet dominated by fully entrenched players. You don't want to create the third Coke but if there's a soda category that's not dominated already, that's the way I think about launching a startup. You have to have a vision of what's small today that can be large tomorrow."