Environmental

Spencer's Journey: The Mind Behind Settide's Cutting-Edge Underwater Tools

Settide combines photogrammetry with marine biology, overcoming challenges to provide essential tools for coral reef conservation and research

Spencer's journey with Settide started five years ago, sparked by his fascination with photogrammetry—the technology that turns photos into 3D models. 

This blend of science, technology, and art captivated him during his graduate studies in marine biology in Hawaii. As he worked on coral reef conservation projects, he saw the potential of photogrammetry for creating detailed 3D models of reef habitats, which are essential for research and conservation.

But there was a problem. 

Despite the advanced state of photogrammetry, there were limited tools and resources for underwater applications. This inspired Spencer to develop Settide, aiming to provide robust tools and services for those in coral reef conservation and research. 

“I have been heavily involved in that industry for about five years now and am very familiar with what data people need, the limitations of their projects, and what the potential is to use photogrammetry when they have great tools and resources available to them,” Spencer explains.

Settide is now on a mission to empower scientists and researchers with the technology they need to map reefs in 3D, collect critical data, and scale their projects.

Reaching the Right People

Settide's main focus is on coral reef conservation and research professionals who rely on photogrammetry to understand and protect reef ecosystems. These users need sophisticated tools to create accurate 3D maps and gather data on coral health and status. 

Spencer has been building his network, connecting with potential users through cold emails and online platforms like LinkedIn. “I have been building my network to create connections with potential users in Hawaii and from all over the world,” he says.

His goal is to make Settide an indispensable resource for those at the forefront of marine conservation.

Tackling Challenges Head-On

Spencer, like many entrepreneurs, has faced significant challenges. His biggest hurdle has been learning to focus on key projects rather than spreading himself too thin. “I have many ideas, user requests, and projects that I am always challenged with focusing those into streamlined tasks for me to accomplish in an organised way,” Spencer admits. 

This ongoing process involves honest self-reflection and a strategic approach to time management.

Additionally, wearing multiple hats—from financial management to software development and client engagement—has been both a challenge and a learning opportunity. “Other challenges I have (and some I very much enjoy that they are a challenge) is having to wear all the hats for the business. 

This goes from keeping track of the business finances to research and development for the software to engaging with potential clients and users and marketing to them,” Spencer shares. Each role requires different skills, and mastering them takes time. However, Spencer's adaptability and dedication have enabled him to overcome these obstacles, continuously driving Settide forward.

Funding and Future Goals

Spencer's funding journey began with bootstrapping, relying on personal resources to cover initial costs like company registration. However, as Settide grew and the demand for its software and products increased, it became clear that more substantial funding was necessary. 

“I am mostly bootstrapping but looking for investments,” he states. Spencer is now actively seeking investments to accelerate Settide's growth and capitalise on emerging opportunities. His realisation that significant capital is needed to meet the company's potential has influenced this strategic shift towards seeking external funding.

Spencer's goals for Settide are ambitious yet attainable. In the next 6 to 12 months, he aims to secure sufficient funding, launch a significant update to Settide's software application, improve the website, and enhance sales and marketing efforts. Looking ahead to the next 2-3 years, Spencer envisions Settide becoming a cornerstone in the field of underwater photogrammetry, achieving financial self-sufficiency and expanding into new industries. 

“Within the next 2-3 years, Settide will be a foundational place for underwater photogrammetry, such as coral reef conservation and research work,” he says. Ultimately, his long-term vision is for Settide to be the go-to platform for photogrammetry, helping professionals across various fields leverage this technology to elevate their work.

Spencer's journey with Settide is a testament to the power of combining passion with technology to solve real-world problems. His dedication to advancing photogrammetry for coral reef conservation not only addresses a critical need but also sets the stage for broader applications in the future. 

With clear goals and a strategic approach, Settide is poised to make significant contributions to both marine conservation and the wider field of photogrammetry.

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