The Download: Brian Bharwani, CFO, PrecisionHawk

Brian Bharwani is the Chief Financial Officer at PrecisionHawk. Prior to joining PrecisionHawk, he worked with an array of Washington D.C.-based start-ups including Full Measure Education, MakeOffices and SocialRadar, where he headed both the finance and operations functions. Before that, Brian spent seven years at Blackboard and four years at MCI/Verizon Business in a collection of financial planning and analysis roles.

Brian received a B.B.A. with a concentration in Finance from Emory University and received his M.B.A. from William & Mary.


1. What is in your pockets?
Simply the essentials. My wallet, my phone, and my keys.

2. What exciting thing has happened recently for you or your organization?
PrecisionHawk is a leader in the area of commercial drone technology. There is a software component in what we do, a services component of what we do and a hardware component of what we do. We really view ourselves as a one-stop shop for drone technology.

We try to stay as agnostic as possible as it relates to the business model. By that I mean, if we have a customer who doesn’t know anything about drones, and does not want to know anything about drones, does not want to spend a dollar to have that, that’s totally fine. We’ve got a seasoned team of Part 107 certified pilots who will go out and fly drones for individuals. Collect data with those drones for the individuals, and we have a collection of software products that will analyze that data for our clients.

Conversely, if we have a client that wants to stand up their own drone operation, we say, that’s great. We’ll sell them the hardware they need, we’ll train their pilots, and then we’ll again sell them software solutions to analyze that data. Putting it all together, really what we’re about is helping business leaders make better business decisions, and we use drone technology as the primary vehicle to help us do that.

The most exciting thing that’s happened for PrecisionHawk recently isn’t necessarily a tangible thing, but it’s general market acceptance of our technology. If you were to go back in time, 12 or 18 months, the conversations that our sales guys were having with our clients, or potential clients, really started and centered around: What’s drone technology, and why should I be comfortable using it? The market has taken a quantum leap forward, in terms of just general acceptance of the technology. When our sales people are having those conversations now, the acceptance of drone technologies is just a given when they walk in the door. Then it’s really about talking about your software solutions, and explaining why they’re better than somebody else’s. Talking about your services offering, and explaining why they’re best in class. So just seeing that change in market dynamic, market shift, market mindset has been a really powerful and exciting thing for us at PrecisionHawk.

3. What is your favorite coffee spot?
I will caveat this by saying I’ve never had a cup of coffee in my life but I do really enjoy The Morning Times. I like the atmosphere in there. I like to get breakfast in there. So that’s a good spot for me.

4. What keeps you up at night?
Intellectually I keep telling myself I need to worry about the things I can control and not worry about the things I can’t control. That being said, laying in my bed at night, my mind tends to wander towards the things I can’t control. In our space a chief thing I cannot control is the regulatory environment. So if you think about what we’re doing, we’re flying machines over valuable assets here in the United States, and in other countries across the world, and obviously there are regulatory bodies who are keenly interested in what we’re doing. So just staying abreast of those regulatory developments and making sure we’re in compliance with all the laws of all the lands where we’re operating in is something that’s top of mind for me always.

5. What is your favorite restaurant or happy hour?
I really like Poole’s Diner.  I feel like that the menu is simple enough that someone as unsophisticated as myself can always get something good to eat, and then someone like my wife, who really enjoys good food, also enjoys herself there. So from a restaurant standpoint, that’s the place we like to go. From a happy hour standpoint, we just moved into a new office in the fourth quarter of last year, and we’re located right on top of Milk Bar on Glenwood. That’s just become our home court, if you will. So a nice happy hour there, and always good to see fellow PrecisionHawk employees bouncing around that spot at the end of the day.

6. What is next for you or your organization?
Over the past couple of years we’ve been successful in building some top-notch software products, and also putting in place a world-class services organization. I don’t have any major announcement, or new magic wand to wave here. For us, it’s really about executing on the business strategy that we already have in place, and continuing to grow the company successfully as we have over the past couple of years.

About Brooks Malone 106 Articles
Brooks Malone is a NC CPA and Partner with Hughes Pittman & Gupton, LLP, and leads the Technology practice group. Brooks is also listed contributor to the National Fast Trac Tech Curriculum that was funded by the Kauffman Foundation. Brooks was named one of the 40 Under 40 in May 2005 by the TBJ, received the Outstanding service to Entrepreneurs Award in 2008 by CED, and named to the Leadership Raleigh Hall of Fame in October 2011. Brooks is a graduate of North Carolina State University and is active at American Underground and Raleigh Founded.