Techstars Alabama EnergyTech Startup Spotlight: Birdstop

Techstars Alabama EnergyTech Startup Spotlight: Birdstop
Birdstop is building the capability to provide high-detail, real-time remote sensing for companies, such as utilities and telecommunications, with large-scale infrastructure. “Through automating inspection monitoring, we want to make the energy sector more resilient, more cost effective and safer,” Birdstop CEO Keith Miao says. (contributed)

With a mission to automate inspection and monitoring for enterprises with physical assets, Birdstop is bringing industries like telecommunications, utilities and agriculture into the future. Applying his extensive background in remote sensing and data science, cofounder and CEO Keith Miao is leading Birdstop in building first-of-its-kind nodal infrastructure for scaled deployment of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVS). This network of UAVs effectively becomes a constellation of satellites that sit on the ground, collecting data without personnel onsite. Birdstop’s vision is expansive, equipping teams with data and insights at both high detail and scale like never before.

Today, Alabama NewsCenter talks with Keith Miao, CEO and cofounder of Birdstop.

The Birdstop team demonstrates its remote sensing technology at an Alabama Power facility. (contributed)

Company name


Company hometown

San Francisco

Leadership team

Keith Miao, CEO and cofounder

Alabama NewsCenter: What is your company’s overall focus and mission?

Keith Miao: Birdstop’s mission is to automate inspection and monitoring without dispatching crews into the field. By bringing together clusters and networks of Birdstop nodes, our vision is to create a new layer of remote sensing – like a constellation of satellites that sit at the surface – collecting data thousands of times higher fidelity than space-based technologies could and delivering that in real time to make enterprise decisions.

ANC: What inspired you to start this company? How do you want to contribute to the future of energy and tech?

Miao: Coming from a remote sensing and data science background, our team always saw a gap in field data. You could receive data with high coverage using space-based remote sensing (i.e. satellites) or you could receive data with high detail sending personnel into the field (i.e. crews). However, there was no way to get both high detail and high coverage, which is exactly what industries like energy and utilities need on a regular basis for their physical assets. When the Federal Aviation Administration began permitting small UAVs to operate without personnel onsite, we realized this would be the solution to this $100 billion-plus industry problem. At Birdstop, we place nodes in the field that each deploy a small UAV to collect high-resolution data locally without a person onsite. By rolling out hundreds, and eventually thousands, of these nodes, we can gather data at both detail and scale without crews in the field.

ANC: What attracted you to the Techstars Alabama EnergyTech Accelerator?

Miao: We value this opportunity to learn about how Alabama Power operates and how best to work together on solving the important problems of asset integrity and grid resiliency.

ANC: What is the No. 1 thing you’d like potential investors to understand about your company?

Miao: Birdstop is a remote sensing platform that allows a user to centrally command a network of flying sensors in the field. Our value proposition to customers is data and insights at scale.

Keith Miao, left, CEO and cofounder at Birdstop, and Robert Reynoso, lead field engineer at Birdstop. (contributed)

ANC: What takeaways do you hope to gain for your company by participating in the Techstars Alabama EnergyTech Accelerator?

Miao: We look forward to engaging with the energy industry ecosystem in Alabama.

ANC: What is your opinion of Birmingham so far?

Miao: People here have been very genuine in helping our company succeed. The food scene is also top notch.

Alabama NewsCenter is highlighting the 2021 Class of startups participating in the Techstars Alabama EnergyTech Accelerator. Learn more about Techstars here. Read profiles of HDataNoteworthy AI, Accelerate Wind, Flux Hybrids, Khepra, Sustaio, Moduly and Sunairio.

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