JEDDAh: Nick Horbaczewski is chief executive and founder at Drone Racing League (DRL) Inc.
Horbaczewski founded the global drone-racing league in early 2015, and bought a company called DroneKraft to develop an internal technology department.
He partnered with Ryan Gury, who serves as its director of product and who designed and built the league’s drones. Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross was one of the early investors in DRL.
The first season of the Drone Racing League was inaugurated in January 2016 and featured five races across the US. It was broadcast in more than 40 countries, on SkySports, ESPN and ProsiebenSat.1, and more than 75 million fans tuned in to watch DRL races and content either online or on TV. The Drone Racing League has taken the first steps in delivering on the promise of futuristic, tech-enabled sport through a unique combination of live sports events, custom drone technology, and in-house film production to deliver the sport of the future.
Previously, Horbaczewski served at Tough Mudder, which are mud-run events designed by British Special Forces, a series of hardcore 10-12 mile obstacle races. During his time with Tough Mudder, which was less than two years, he served as chief strategy officer, chief revenue officer, and senior vice president revenue and business development.
He also worked at ADS, which serves the US Department of Defense, federal, state, and local agencies in support of homeland defense and homeland security operations. He worked there for over three years as vice president of corporate development.
Horbaczewski is also the founder of Leeden Media, founded in 2006. He is the previous senior vice president revenue and business development.
In 2002, he received his bachelor’s degree from Harvard University in history and literature. Part of his graduate studies was obtained abroad at Oxford University in the United Kingdom. He also earned a master’s degree in business administration from Harvard Business School in 2008.
Horbaczewski has received several awards and titles, being included in 50 Most Daring Entrepreneurs, Guinness World Records: World’s Fastest Drone, Advertising Age Creativity Awards: Startup to Watch 2017, Cynopsis Sports Media Awards: Production Innovation, and Fast Company’s 50 Most Innovative Companies of 2017.
The final event of this year’s DRL championship was held on Sept. 14 in Saudi Arabia. It was hosted by the Saudi Federation for Cyber Security, Programming and Drones at King Abdullah Economic City in Jeddah, where 10 of the world’s best drone racers competed to be crowned world champion. More than 4,000 spectators attended.