WISPR Systems

Mississippi company providing cutting-edge technology

WISPR Systems, a US-based drone manufacturer, is renowned for its versatile, rugged, and reliable commercial drones. Headquartered in Batesville, the company also handles shipping, receiving, and research and development from Nesbit, with its manufacturing operations based in Corinth.

Founded in 2016, WISPR Systems is dedicated to producing dependable and affordable U.S. commercial Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) with turnkey payload options, which can include anything from cameras to specialized sensors. These drones support a variety of industries, including surveying, mapping, telecommunications, utilities, and public safety, living up to their motto: “WISPR Systems is a one-stop shop for all your commercial drone needs.” This motto holds true, as evidenced by the company’s comprehensive range of services and products.

The journey from vision to reality was greatly supported by Mississippi State and InnovateMS, transforming the dreams of founders Conor Ferguson and Austin Ratcliffe into a thriving enterprise. Ferguson and Ratcliffe, childhood friends and currently CTO and COO respectively, began WISPR as a small, unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) manufacturer and software provider for telecommunications companies. Mississippi State’s entre-preneurial network and InnovateMS played crucial roles in their early success.

 “To get the business off the ground, WISPR received invaluable help from Eric Hill and Jeffrey Rupp at the Mississippi State University Center for Entrepreneur & Outreach, Tony Jeff at InnovateMS, and Wade Patterson and the Bulldog Angel Network,” said Ferguson, an MSU graduate.

With its growth came new leadership. John Reece, a respected business leader in Mississippi, joined WISPR as CEO in January 2024. Reece, who began his career in the high-tech industry with IBM, brings over 25 years of experience in manage-ment positions across production and finance. His expertise will be instrumental in WISPR’s next growth phase.

John McArthur, WISPR’s Vice President of Sales and Marketing, highlights the company’s unique value proposition: “Drone manu-facturing is highly com-

petitive, but our proprietary software sets us apart. Essentially, we are a software company that designs drones, integrates payloads, and develops application-specific software and firmware. This streamlined approach em-bodies our tagline, ‘Power to the Pro,’ empowering professionals to achieve their best work with simplicity and reliability.”

Officially operational since 2017, WISPR has grown into a success story for MSU and InnovateMS. From 2018 to 2020, the company not only provided drones, payloads, and software for radio frequency interference hunting and site surveys but also helped companies establish their sUAS programs to maximize profitability.

“In 2020, amidst the uncertainties brought by COVID, we decided to expand into other commercial sUAS markets,” Ferguson said in an earlier statement. 

Today, WISPR serves a wide range of industries, including infrastructure inspection, earthmoving, power line maintenance, mapping, surveying, construction, and telecommunications. 

“The rough and rugged product lines hold up to the tough jobs,” added McArthur.

In April 2024, WISPR launched its newest product, the SkyScout drone. 

“We developed the SkyScout with our customers in mind, delivering a lightweight yet highly durable drone for various industries,” said Ferguson. The SkyScout offers exceptional accessibility, convenience, and performance with its compact size, multiple payload options, and plane-safe, hot-swappable, smart batteries. Its design makes it ideal for workflows that require frequent transport between job sites.

The SkyScout launch also marked the beginning of a partnership with Gremsy, a leading gimbal manufacturer. Gremsy supports SkyScout with four products, enhancing the user experience. “WISPR takes pride in the craftsmanship of our drones, and this partnership with Gremsy will only enhance the user experience,” said McArthur.

WISPR Systems takes pride in being a Mississippi-based company. 

“I was born and raised in Mississippi. I love Mississippi and want to see it grow,” said Ferguson. The company’s investors, board members, and most employees are also from or reside in Mississippi. Staying in Mississippi allows WISPR to benefit from the state’s lower cost of living and doing business, as well as the high-quality engineers from Mississippi State. Ferguson believes these factors are crucial for the company’s continued success.

As WISPR continues to grow and add new product lines, the company embodies the “American Dream” in action. 

“Conor and Austin started this company while at MSU, with the encouragement of one of their professors on campus, and it is still using drone prototypes they created in college. It’s amazing to see what WISPR has grown into in such a short time,” said McArthur.

WISPR’s work is showcased on their YouTube channel, and more information can be found on their website at wisprsystems.com. Reflecting on the company’s journey, John Reece, CEO, said, “WISPR Systems is not just growing; we are innovating in ways that will transform the commercial UAS industry. The best is yet to come.” 

By Christin Yates

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