Ryland Clark, founder of RCFlyBy drone services
Ryland Clark’s RCFlyBy drone business started with a hobby that took flight as he learned more about Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). Since working with the Longwood SBDC and RISE Business Bootcamp, RCFlyBy has reached new heights of success.

“In 2019 when I started my business, I went to see SBDC Regional Director Lin Hite,” Ryland says. “He gave me advice on getting started. I took a drone certification class, then went to the Danville Airport for a proctor exam.”

Services offered by RCFlyBy include 3D imaging, construction site reports, land sale photography, aerial photography, inspections, property imaging, real estate videography and fireworks videography.

“Drones are a side job for me,” says Ryland, an engineer at Hitachi Energy in South Boston. “I like the personal contact with clients in the drone business.”

When a friend urged Ryland to enroll in RISE Business Bootcamp, he decided to give it a try. The 10-week online program, coordinated by the SOVA Innovation Hub and Longwood SBDC, is designed to help new business owners create a solid business plan and establish next steps to move a business forward. The winter 2023 cohort Ryland was a part of was RISE’s largest yet, but his vision for RCFlyBy still rose to the top.

“There were about 30 [participants] in the January 2023 bootcamp,” Ryland explains. “Talking with other business owners was the most valuable part for me — how to market, set pricing and share your value with customers. I also wrote a business and finance plan.”

The bootcamp ended with the RISE Collaborative Business Pitch Competition, which challenged Ryland and his fellow entrepreneurs to pitch their business to a panel of judges in a matter of minutes. RCFlyBy took the top prize.

“I tied for first place and received $5,000,” Ryland reports. “I invested the money in a drone with mechanical shutter that takes photos 40 percent faster.”

Since working with the SBDC and RISE Collaborative, Ryland reports a 125 percent revenue increase. Additionally, RCFlyBy added one employee and a Richmond-based company for contract work. Additionally, the SBDC helped him through the certification process for SWaM and SAM, for which he now has both certifications.

Ryland says he is grateful for the SBDC’s continued support.

“The SBDC helped accelerate growth and take my business to the next level,” he concludes. “It’s good to know I have the SBDC to rely on.”