Vilde Wettergreen got into drones the same way her company did: by pure happenstance.
But Vilde and her company, Immerse Optics, are making a strong impression on the drone industry. Vilde Wettergreen is the C.E.O. of Immerse Optics, a Norwegian company that started by making masks to create an immersive movie-watching experience from your phone. However, after receiving customer feedback and inspiration–including learning that drone pilots were using their product as an FPV tool– the company entered the drone sector.
Vilde Wettergreen joined Immerse Optics soon after.
Vilde said that this close customer feedback loop is her favorite part of the job.“I love sending our product to different people in the drone industry and hearing their thoughts about it,” she said.“We got a lot of good responses and I do believe we are the only FPV solution for camera drones which is really, really cool.”
Vilde Wettergreen went to the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, where she earned a bachelor’s in psychology and a Master’s of Science from the School of Entrepreneurship. And while she is new to the drone industry, she is no stranger to the world of VR and running a business.
Vilde Wettergreen shares more about Immerse Optics, DroneMask, and how she became a CEO (note this interview has been edited for clarity and style).
Caroline Dobrez: Becoming a CEO is no easy feat. Can you tell me a little about your background and what led you to Immerse Optics?
Vilde Wettergreen: I have a bachelor’s degree in psychology. Before I started my master’s degree, I started a company, called Fornix, which is dedicated to harnessing the potential of virtual reality exposure therapy to address mental health challenges.
I think it’s so exciting to be a part of the journey and build something as an entrepreneur and see how far we can take it. I feel like, both the entrepreneurship and the spirit around working in such a small and flexible company and scaling it up with immersive technology. This type of work has been common throughout my career.
Caroline Dobrez: That’s very cool. Can you walk us through a day in the life as CEO of Immerse Optics?
Vilde Wettergreen: Immerse Optics, started in 2016 and then they worked within the movie market and then the VR market, and I started in 2021 and launched the product within the drone market, which is a drone mask. Currently, my day is varied. I do a lot of follow-up with my consultants and check in with my two team members. We are a really small team.
Also, it’s a lot of strategy planning and a lot of talking to customers and influencers in the drone industry. We have used it a lot because they give us great feedback on our product for other updates. We stay ahead of what people want and where the industry is heading.
Caroline Dobrez: Can you talk a little bit about your product, The DroneMask? I know it has an interesting backstory…
Vilde Wettergreen: After going to the movie theater in 2016, the founders were inspired to recreate the experience on smartphones so they could have the same cinematic experience anywhere at any time. That was the MovieMask.
But then some YouTubers ordered the MagiMask. They used it for drone flying and they posted their reviews on YouTube. And suddenly in one month, we had $70,000 in our web store and we were like, where is this coming from? And it was actually from the YouTube reviews. So it was actually the customers who discovered us and helped us enter the drone industry.
Caroline Dobrez: Talk about listening to customers’ feedback. That is incredible. Are you into drones? Do you fly drones at all?
Vilde Wettergreen: I hadn’t flown a drone until I started at Immerse Optics, but now I have tried and I think it’s really fun. I bring a drone when I’m on vacation. So, I’m going to Rondane, which is a national nature park, in Norway. I intend to bring my drone. I have the DJI Mini 2 and the DroneMask, of course. The DroneMask works with almost all camera drones, as long as you have the RC and one controller that uses your phone.
Caroline Dobrez: So, is it safe to say the DJI Mini 2 is your favorite drone?
Vilde Wettergreen: So far, yes. I really want to try the new drones like the Mavic 3. The DJI Mini 2 is my favorite drone since it’s easy to bring around and travel and to get it with the drama.
Caroline Dobrez: If you could fly your Mini anywhere in the world, where would you fly it?
Vilde Wettergreen: I think one of my favorite places in the world is in Norway. I would love to see the Northern lights. I think that would be magical. That is my dream and I think I will be able to realize it soon as well.
Caroline Dobrez: Do you have any advice for someone who wants to get into the drone industry or start their own business?
Vilde Wettergreen: The most important is always to know your customers and to know which market you are targeting first. So really, understand their pain points and focus on either. If you’re going to be in a B2C business you need to focus on the market. I feel it is important when starting something and then you can expand further. But I feel like the deep knowledge of your customer is the most important.
And don’t be afraid to talk to people in the industry to share your ideas and get feedback on it. I feel that’s so valuable and also it’s important just to trust yourself.
Vilde Wettergreen: And I feel like everyone in the drone community is very welcoming. So, I feel just like reaching out whether it’s an Influencer, YouTuber, or somebody in the community, they are really helpful.
You can connect with Vilde Wttergreen via email at email@example.com / firstname.lastname@example.org and via LinkedIn
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