FORT WORTH - Fort Worth resident and budding entrepreneur Tanner Silva has both a top-selling App and an aerial drone photography business, and he is still in high school! A Paschal High School senior, Silva started the App "Podsnatcher" for Mac, which is sold on the App Store.
During his summer break in 2012, Silva noticed that there were no Mac-compatible podcast apps that give users the ability to manage and download podcasts easily. Silva says that managing podcasts through conventional methods can be very tedious.
"I was genuinely shocked when I discovered this, as I knew podcasting apps sold really well on the iPhone," states Silva. "I knew this hole in the market would not last forever, so I jumped at the opportunity."
Teaching himself Mac programming, Silva launched Podsnatcher six months later on December 21, 2012 in the Mac App Store. By the second day, Podsnatcher reached the top 10 selling and grossing new apps in over 10 different countries (including the United States). Today, over a year after its original release, Podsnatcher is still in the top 20 selling and grossing charts for news apps.
The following summer in 2013, Silva was surfing the web, browsing YouTube, and saw video of a quadcopter, a four-bladed, remote-controlled camera with blades that allow it to be launched and hover for aerial photography. Silva says that "these multi-bladed drones are becoming incredibly popular. They're already being used by professional TV crews, including Top Gear (BBC) and Duck Dynasty."
Silva pursued buying one, but found that the pre-built models (known as "ready-to-fly" quadcopters) were quite expensive. Never a person swayed by a challenge, Silva decided to build his own quadcopter. After buying circuit boards and radio equipment from China and soldered them together into a single circuit, he programmed the circuit boards to work in unison to get the aircraft in the air. Over time, he added more electronics and features to his quadcopter, including a live video downlink to a pair of video goggles, an active camera stabilization system, and a GPS guided, autonomous return-to-launch feature.
Since constructing his own quadcopter, Silva has taken aerial photos all across Fort Worth and two locations in Arlington, including Montgomery Plaza, Paschal High School, Colonial Country Club, the TCU campus, AT&T Stadium, and Rangers Ballpark. Never satisfied with the status quo, Silva has since upgraded his quadcopter to a hexacopter by adding two additional motors.
Currently it is illegal to sell photos taken by drone cameras, so Silva uploads photos taken by his hexacopter for free on his Instagram page at tannersilva. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requires that camera drones fly below 400 feet, a rule to which Silva adheres
Silva chocks his entrepreneurial spirit up to curiosity and hard work. "I have always been the type of person to rise to an opportunity," says Silva. "If I see something that fascinates me, I don't simply say to myself 'that seems really cool, I wish I could do that.' Instead, I will teach myself the necessary skills to achieve what I want to accomplish."
Silva is a member of Paschal's National Honor Society, has been in the Paschal Chess Club, Paschal Play It Forward, Paschal Legacy Club, and is a past member of the Paschal Golf Team. He is also active in community service projects. After graduating with honors from Paschal in May, Silva plans to attend Florida Gulf Coast University in fall 2014, and looks forward to taking pictures of the Atlantic Ocean and his college campus with his drone camera.
Silva's drone camera pictures may be viewed at