This year’s International Drone Festival in Los Angeles will be even bigger and better than last year’s inaugural event. The event will be held at the Los Angeles Convention Center (quite a bit larger than last year’s Sports Arena venue) on December 11th and 12th. I’m thrilled to be joining Lux Capital, Qualcomm Ventures, AECOM, Starburst Accelerator, and Lightspeed Accelerator as a judge for the PitchFest.

The PitchFest will be a great opportunity for emerging entrepreneurs to present and pitch their businesses involving unmanned aerial systems. The contest cleverly combines a call for innovative and precise business strategy with the requirement of a robust and engaging pitch. Applications must be received by October 16th. Apply here.

Los Angeles is a particularly exciting scene for emerging UAS technology. With a rich aerospace heritage and a future at the intersection of technology and entertainment innovation, drones fit comfortably into the pioneering spirit of Southern California. From Douglas Aircraft founded in Santa Monica in 1921 to the Lockheed Aircraft Company formed in Hollywood in 1926, the Southern California landscape has been dotted with aerospace innovation for the better part of the last century.

Entertainment and aviation have grown up side by side in Southern California and continue to grow together in Hollywood and Silicon Beach, collaborating whenever and wherever possible. As Ellen Gamerman of The Wall Street Journal recently reported, “remote-controlled aircraft are creating a new visual vocabulary in entertainment, delivering the stunning aerials once reserved for big-budget movies to even mundane projects.” Los Angeles is among the top locations in the U.S cultivating digital and robotics engineers, and is a hotbed for talent in the growing UAS industry.

PitchFest will engage the passion and potential of engineers, entrepreneurs, and drone enthusiasts to expand the UAS marketplace worldwide. Give us a holler or drop by the AirMap office in Santa Monica on your visit to the International Drone Expo. At AirMap, we love our friends at other Los Angeles-based drone startups such as DroneBase, CTRL.ME, NVDrones, and Shootly. LA’s a great place to be starting a drone company. Come to the PitchFest to learn more!