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Estonian technology company Hepta Airborne seamlessly brings electricity to households

Just 12-13 years ago, electrical networks engineer Henri Klemmer was still working in the woods. He often encountered mud and swamps and sometimes he’d come across a bear. All of this just so he could find faults in the electrical grid and ensure that electricity was reaching every household seamlessly. Now drones, satellites and a number of sensors do this job for network operators. Four years ago Klemmer established Hepta Airborne - a company that developed software that could analyse gathered data twice as fast, two times cheaper and twice as accurately.

Hepta Airborne began operations four years ago and was founded by Siim Maripuu, Siim Heering and Henri Klemmer. At first they offered network operators a data gathering service (using drones among other things) but they were also developing data processing and analysis software which eventually became the company’s primary business. Klemmer said that the product is ready now and the next step will be to focus on marketing and sales. The company does already have paying clients and they operate in nine countries, including The Baltic States, Germany, Finland and Ukraine. They also have pilot projects pending in Chile as well as Suriname.

This would not have been possible or even necessary just ten years ago. Most data was gathered manually back then. In particular, people went to the site on foot and surveyed the scene with their own eyes. Even phone cameras weren’t good enough to be used to capture network failures at an adequate level. Data processing was done manually as well.

The situation has changed drastically now. Data is still gathered by people physically on-site as well, but they also take photos. Additionally, data is gathered by sensors, drones and satellites. Terabytes of information gets gathered from lots of sources and has to be processed and analysed. Hepta Airborne will provide assistance in this situation. Their software includes machine learning processes and can discover faults and probable risks in order to prevent future disruptions and save money and time.

Klemmer says that they completed their product a year ago and marketing is the next step. The objective is for the company to morph into a software company, where 90% of sales is the product, not the service. The product itself needs continual innovating too. Data science is complex as well as capital intensive, which is why Hepta Airborne is looking for new ways to raise funds. “We are always looking for new opportunities,” said Klemmer, who dedicates a great deal of his time to investor relations.

Although the company has proven that their product is solid and they have some paying clients, they will still be needing a lot of investor support for the next three or four years. “We wish to be the best in Europe and have one another large region as well,” said Klemmer about their upcoming plans. It should be considered that the sales cycle of network operators is longer than other professions.

However, Klemmer believes that the demand for their product will grow dramatically in the next 10–20 years. Some overhead power lines will be brought underground, but mostly in wealthier and highly populated regions. Some power lines are expensive and unnecessary to be brought underground. Klemmer believes that overhead power lines will continue to be predominant in electrical networks for the next 50–100 years.

Furthermore, climate change is forcing more and more things to go electric. Even in developing countries where electricity is not available everywhere yet. The prediction is that by 2050, electricity consumption will increase threefold compared to now, which means that the reliability of electrical grids will be even more important. Hepta Airborne wishes to become a major player in this field.

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