Up Sonder

Marketplace for Drone Pilots

Company Information






Los Angeles, CA

Up Sonder has been referred to as the “Airbnb of the drone industry.”

It’s targeting the market for drone services. By 2020, this market is expected to surpass $13 billion.

Simply put, its marketplace gives businesses access to qualified, licensed, insured drone pilots. These pilots can be "rented" to complete tasks such as filming aerial footage for real estate projects, inspecting cell phone towers, and gathering data on oil & gas facilities.

Up Sonder has more than 2,000 members using its marketplace, and has available drone pilots in more than 750 cities across the U.S. Notable customers include Uber (NYSE: UBER), ConocoPhillips (NYSE: COP), and Coldwell Banker.

Team Background

Sung Moon Kang - Chief Technology Officer

Sung is an expert in the areas of aerospace guidance, navigation, and controls.

For more than a decade, he served as CEO and President of SySense, a research company focusing on guidance, navigation, and control in aerospace applications.

Throughout his career, he has worked for several notable aerospace companies, including NASA, Boeing, DARPA, the U.S. Army, and the U.S. Air Force.

Sung earned a Bachelor’s degree in Applied Physics from Yale University, a Master’s in Aeronautics & Astronautics from Stanford, and a Ph.D. in Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering from UCLA.

Nhattrieu Duong - Engineer

Nhattrieu oversees Up Sonder’s research into the areas of aerospace guidance, navigation, and controls. In addition, he is responsible for writing the software the company will use in its Marketplace 2.0 which is under development.

Nhattrieu has previously worked for aerospace companies including NASA, Boeing, DARPA, and the U.S. military.

He earned a Bachelor’s degree from California Institute of Technology and is finishing his Ph.D. at UCLA.

Derek Waleko - Co-Founder & CEO

Derek is an experienced commercial drone pilot, having flown all over the world.

Prior to starting Up Sonder, he worked for the South Korean government, specifically in the country’s mergers and acquisitions department.

Derek earned a Bachelor’s degree in Biology and Chemistry from Texas Tech University.

Isaac Nabors - Co-Founder & President

Isaac manages the day-to-day operations at Up Sonder.

He has a background in physical therapy, having spent three years as a physical therapist for Dallas Midtown Physical Therapy.

In addition, he spent nearly eight years as a physical therapist at the Baylor Institute of Rehabilitation.

Isaac earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Texas Tech University, and his Doctorate from Andrews University.

Joe Christian - Content & Research

Joe has an extensive background in writing and editing.

Prior to joining Up Sonder, he was the Lead Copywriter for Gibson Overseas, a company producing dinnerware and cookware.

In addition, he served as an English lecturer at Beijing Normal University, Beijing Foreign Studies University, and the Central University of Finance and Economics.

Joe earned a Bachelor’s degree in Legal Studies and Business Management from Temple University.


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