St. Louis entrepreneur Bronwyn Morgan brings drones and geospatial tech together with her company, XEO Air
As Bronwyn Morgan prepared for her first takeoff, she recalls being frightened to death of losing her aircraft — even as she was watching from below, safely on the ground.
“I did not want this thing to get away from me. You lose a drone, and you just pray it comes back to you,” Morgan said. “But I found it very liberating. It was my chance to fly, but I didn’t have to be in the sky to do it.”
While Morgan considers herself first and foremost an innovator, she’s also a geospatial entrepreneur. She founded XEO Air in 2017, a company that collects data for other businesses using drones. She keeps it simple in her definition of geospatial technology: “It’s all just about the place and space that something exists.”
“This is new. The whole idea of aerial data use for industries that really hadn’t even thought about it. Mixing this geospatial data in with business intelligence and now artificial intelligence becomes a game changer. I think that geospatial is the future,” Morgan said.
As for XEO Air’s future, Morgan aims to take on a very strong presence in the market as a leader in geospatial data in the next few years. She is situated well to achieve that goal, as the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency builds its new west headquarters just north of downtown St. Louis and expects to be fully operational by 2025.
In the years since XEO Air’s founding, Morgan has in fact continued to build up her company’s presence and impact on the St. Louis geospatial community. This summer she launched the Airversity Drone Academy Center of Excellence, a 40-acre space for professional drone pilots to complete flight training, prepare for their FAA exam, take geospatial science classes and more.
Morgan plans on opening other locations throughout the country beginning in 2022.
She also was awarded a $20,000 grant from T-Rex’s GeoSeed Grant Program, which targets research partnerships between local universities and companies. With the money, Morgan will create a mixed-reality interface that helps streamline the process of bridge inspections through collaborating with University of Missouri Science and Technology.