BrenShavia Jordan | Broadcast Reporter
Nick Madincea is a finance major from The Woodlands, but he is not your typical Baylor student. This 23-year-old sophomore is the founder and CEO of Drone Parks Worldwide, and has taught over 1,500 people how to fly drones.
“Our mission at Drone Parks Worldwide is to democratize drone flight by building indoor drone stadiums where anyone can come and learn how to fly a drone,” Madincea said.
Madincea shared that his love for aviation started as a child, watching videos of space shuttles and gawking at airplanes that flew by. At the age of 12, he flew an airplane as a pilot for the first time and continued to do so until he was 18. He was raised by a single mother who was concerned about his safety each time he flew.
“Every time I would go flying, my mom would give me that special kind of hug and kiss saying, ‘be safe,’” Madincea said.
Madincea said those words from his mother really struck him, and at the age of 16, he discovered drone technology was safer and cheaper than flying an airplane.
“After all, if I crash my drone I kind of just laugh and walk away, you can’t do that in an aircraft,” Madincea said.
Starting his company in 2016, Madincea said on paper the process was overnight but realistically it took longer than that. As a fourth-generation entrepreneur, he has seen other men in his family start and maintain successful businesses.
“I really believe that starting a company is the hardest thing to do in this world,” Madincea said. “You walk in and it is a completely amorphous atmosphere. There is no structure at first whatsoever and you have to find what you need to do and lead people while you are doing it.”
After achieving early success prior to college, Madincea decided Baylor would be the best fit to continue his mission.
“Wherever I wanted to go to school, I want to be able to build something great — and I felt like that was at Baylor,” Madincea said.
Since being at Baylor, Madincea says he has connected with many mentors. Jeremy Vickers, Associate Vice President of External Affairs, is one of them.
Shaun Limbers, Associate Director of the John F. Baugh Center for Entrepreneurship and Manager ENT LLC, says they are committed to helping students further their entrepreneurship desires. With a private equity investment background working on Wall Street, Limbers recognizes that not every student is equipped early on.
“One of the biggest hurdles people don’t anticipate is lack of resources,” Limbers said. “Most people think it is just money, but it can be a lot of different things.”
Limbers shared a lack of knowledge or a nonexistent network as common hurdles entrepreneurs face. In an effort to make sure students have the tools needed to succeed, there are initiatives in place.
“We started the Oso launch program designed for freshmen … who have started a business their first year here at Baylor or are interested in starting one,” Limbers said. “[This] is not just open to entrepreneurship students but open to everybody here on campus.”
Limbers says Madincea’s success story is not new to Baylor.
“We’ve got a handful of students that have actually started business in high school and before that who come to Baylor, and they’ve made the commitment to continue their entrepreneurial endeavor but [with] the same token focus on their studies,” Limbers said.
The Entrepreneurship department is one of the best in the country, ranked No. 8 by U.S News and World Report and No. 5 by Princeton Review.
“It is not all about ranking, but it is nice to know that our peers view us as one of the preeminent programs in the world,” Limbers said.
With recognition by The Houston Chronicle, Tedx Talks and teaching a course at MIT, Madincea knew he wanted to attend a college where he could build and help others. He plans to start an entrepreneurship club on campus in the near future.
“You have to hustle and you have to grind. It is hard work and it is not easy,” Madincea said. “The thing I am most proud of at Drone Parks is our diversity and our team.”