Sharper Shape Inc., a supplier of drone-based infrastructure and utility asset management solutions, announced today the opening of its North American Technical and Operations Center at the Center for Innovation in Grand Forks, North Dakota.
“The strong entrepreneur ecosystem and a world-leading cluster of drone companies in Grand Forks helped with our selection. We are enthusiastic about the talent base that has been created in Grand Forks. This is the highest concentration of broad range drone expertise and its application in commercial civil applications”, said Tero Heinonen, founder and CEO of Sharper Shape.
Sharper Shape is immediately hiring three key personnel in Grand Forks to found its technology and operations organization for North America. These key roles include airspace safety, utility business development, and drone and sensor manufacturer relations. The company expects to hire several additional drone and utility industry experts during the next year. As the global market leader in this exciting new field, the company serves major customers in Europe, North America, and South America. Building a strong base in Grand Forks will enable Sharper Shape to enter a new key market in the US.
“The good progress FAA has demonstrated in their efforts to integrate drones in the national airspace makes us confident that infrastructure inspection flights will get the green light for large scale commercial operations in the US in the near future”, said Heinonen.
Sharper Shape’s office in the UND Center for Innovation provides the company with a solid foundation and support for future expansion in Grand Forks, and an immediate access to a network of highly skilled professionals.
“Locating in the UND Center for Innovation makes sense, as being a global leader in the deployment of drones in commercial applications requires the best partners and collaborators”, said Heinonen.
“Tero of Sharper Shape has proven their technology and systems to inspect electrical utility infrastructure in Finland and other countries in Europe and around the world. As the FAA opens up the national airspace in the US, Sharper Shape has a significant market and entrepreneur opportunity from Grand Forks,” responded Bruce Gjovig, CEO & Entrepreneur Coach at the UND Center for Innovation Foundation. “Tero and his team join a community of nine drone-related ventures with staff in our tech incubator, plus another 11 ventures that are virtual tenants exploring market opportunities,” he added. “Our Center has become a beachhead for entrepreneurial companies entering the drone market, and we expect many will grow and graduate into Grand Sky, the nation’s first drone technology park.“