For all 3D Robotics’ success, there is one part of its business model which might unnerve bosses in other industries – the operating software of its drones is freely available to any other company that would like to have a go at making its own.
The software is publicly available or “open sourced” because ever since his earliest efforts in his old garage, Mr Muñoz has published his work online, and asked for help and feedback from other drone enthusiasts.
While this means that any competitor can use the software, such as a number of Chinese copycats, Mr Muñoz says that the operating system is better as a result of all the input of others in its development.
“I wouldn’t be able to sell as much if I had prototyped it alone,” he says.
As 3D Robotics continues to grow, Mr Muñoz says that despite a tough start dealing with immigration authorities, the US has been good to him.
“It really is a land of opportunities,” he says. “So it doesn’t matter what is your background. If you work hard and do the right thing, and you’re honest, you can always do what you want in the US.
“You get a lot of support – ‘hey, this is awesome! Keep doing it!’ – that is a different mentality compared to my [home] country, which is the opposite way around.”