By Emily Lohec | Staff Writer
Professor and student duo Wayne Hampton and Jacob Kehoe, who graduated Baylor in May, couldn’t anticipate the success they would achieve when they began partnering for their company Aerial Intelligence Reports (AIR), which specializes in drone technology affecting the roofing industry.
Kehoe enrolled in Hampton’s Management 3305 class while at Baylor, and Hampton had worked on his Aerial Intelligence and Reports company a little over a year and a half before bringing Kehoe on his team. The company took off in July.
“As a student, Jacob would always seek me out after class, and he would want to come to my office and talk,” Hampton said. “So, we kind of struck up a friendship beyond just professor and student.”
What started out as a simple project Kehoe had for a marketing class quickly turned into a business plan Hampton found himself in on.
“He did a project for a marketing class, which was a business proposal to do a Christmas-lighted park—either drive to park in Cameron Park or a walk-through park in the zoo,” Hampton said. “He came and showed it to me, and I said, ‘You know what— that’s a pretty neat idea. Waco could really use that,’ so I decided to jump in with him and we went to the City of Waco, and we got pretty far along with actually implementing that.”
Although this business plan didn’t take off for the two, Hampton and Kehoe have since seen the success of their partnership take on new meaning.
The friendship between the two didn’t stop after their first project — Kehoe again enrolled in one of Hampton’s classes – this time with a goal in mind.
“During that class he said, ‘You know, I’m going to graduate, and when I graduate Mr. Hampton, I don’t really want to leave Waco. I would love to do something entrepreneurially with you,’” Hampton said.
Hampton had been working on a side business proposal for a little over a year and told Kehoe about the idea. Hampton said Kehoe was excited about the proposal and was dedicated to turn it into a prospering business.
Hampton knew his teaching at Baylor would need to come before the business, which is where Kehoe came into play. With his freedom of time after graduation, Kehoe has been able to dedicate significant time to AIR.
Additionally, the dynamic duo has turned into a trio with the help of Clayton Tynes, another May 2019 Baylor graduate with a previous military background in engineering and roofing.
As the CEO of AIR, Hampton oversees what will benefit the company. Between Kehoe and Tynes, Hampton said that these two have the skills to possess co-ownership of the company and to develop and deliver a top-notch business.
“We are a high technology business,” Hampton said. “In the business world, we are called a disruptive technology…this is where it gets really interesting.”
AIR has $8 million invested into the software data plan as of right now, which indicates the level of advancement the software contains.
“We are in the Amazon cloud – the software platform is big data, deep learning algorithms,” Hampton said. “We have uploaded tens of thousands of images into the artificial intelligence, and that’s where the deep learning comes in.”
Hampton said he sees the mission behind AIR as being a reliable company that excels in efficiency and effectiveness with a purpose of identifying damage and fixing the problem in a timely manner.
“We start with a hired drone pilot who has his FAA license. From there, he flies a 10-minute pattern that we have prescribed and tells him exactly what to do,” Hampton said. “Then he uploads the images, because he takes lots of pictures in that 10 minutes to our platform, which then interprets all of the images and identifies all of the damage.”
The company itself is identified as a disruptive technology. Hampton said this can often refer to a fear the public has of losing the human element; however, Hampton said he sees this as only enhancing the human aspect.
“We have eliminated all the danger. No one has to get on the roof. We’ve eliminated collateral or secondary damage that can take place,” Hampton said. “We have made it faster and efficient while saving money for the insurance companies in which they don’t lose $500 on deploying a claims advisor out to the homeowner.”
Hampton also said that AIR has seen a 90% acceptance rate within the top names for insurance companies.
“It has gotten the attention of all the major players because all of them have been spending millions of dollars trying to figure out a more efficient way to approach this business, one example being Verisk,” Hampton said. “They’ve all been investing in drones. They’ve been trying to figure out how to build a platform like we already have. We’ve had that platform for three years.”
Kehoe said he’s seen the quick success rate of AIR, and that he believes the company can take the insurance and construction world to the next level in terms of customer satisfaction.
“Our purpose is to revolutionize and innovate both the roofing and adjusting industry,” Kehoe said. “We want to make life easier and more efficient for everyone involved in the process with roofing damage.”
Hampton said he believes that the market value of AIR is not where it could be right now, but that him and his team predict that it will be about $30 million in two years.
With this end goal in mind, Hampton and his team said they plan to continue working hard to execute their plans and be successful in a short amount of time.
“My hope is that one day every single insurance company uses our technology as the standard for roof damage identification in their claims and see the value in our product,” Kehoe said.