Q&A: How Alexandra McCalla is adapting to a new normal.
The COO of AirMatrix shares her strategy and advice.
Alexandra is an ex-business consultant who has also worked at numerous scaling tech start-ups in Toronto and Silicon Valley, gaining experience in strategy, product management, operations, and client services/sales. She then turned her attention to the drone industry, joining AirMatrix as their Chief Operating Officer to build the future for our skies. She was recently awarded the Communitech Fierce Founders $100k prize and has been featured on Women in Drones. She shares how AirMatrix is navigating the current landscape, from what areas of the business are getting the most energy and focus to the financial resources that they have tapped into.
What area of your business is getting your most energy and focus?
Right now customer contracts and deployment, alongside building the team and strategy for international scale.
What is the most important problem you are trying to solve?
Due to a lack of infrastructure, drone operations are unable to scale safely and efficiently in cities to benefit all sectors and aspects of society. With the rise of COVID-19, contactless modes of transportation, like drones, will play an increasingly pivotal role in society.
What has been your most successful solution so far?
AirMatrix helps cities and enterprises prepare for, manage, and enable drone operations by building millimetre precise drone roads for dense urban environments. With our network of drone roads we provide a software application for the 3D routing, and command and control of multiple autonomous drones simultaneously. Here’s a quick 2-minute video describing what we do.
How have you been staying connected with your customers and employees?
Through regular zoom and google hangouts. Particularly scheduled one on one time with employees. This has been particularly important for new team members who we have hired and onboarded completely remotely. Building team spirit, even without meeting in person, has been a key to our recent successes.
“Focus on knowing, and healing, your inner critics and coping mechanisms – it will be the silent killer or winner to your success as a leader.”
What financial resources are you tapping into?
We have been accessing support through the NRC IRAP Innovation Assistance Program (IAP) as well as the $40k business loan. We are also a part of the Communitech Fierce Founders Intensive Track program and the Autonomous Vehicle Innovation Network.
What has surprised you?
Government/enterprise selling cycles and adoption has accelerated significantly over the past 6 months. The urgency and understanding of our value proposition are ringing louder than before.
How far ahead are you planning?
At the start of the pandemic we planned to make sure we could reach the end of the year, now we are planning into the end of 2021. With our experienced acceleration, we must capitalise on this momentum to scale.
What keeps you positive?
My team and our vision. Both internally around building a company of supportive people and externally on empowering the world with technology that can better help us deal with situations like the pandemic.
What message do you want to share with entrepreneurs right now?
Focus on knowing, and healing, your inner critics and coping mechanisms – it will be the silent killer or winner to your success as a leader.