Sci-Fi Demo Series: Gravity's Jetpack

Boost VC get's to see a lot of amazing demos. I wanted to do one post a week on some of my favorites over the years.

My job is awesome! The main reason it’s awesome is that we invest at the earliest stages, and some of the amazing humans we invest in end up building enduring companies. However, the second reason is that I get to see some of the COOLEST Technology in the world!!!

I’ve flown drones, seen blimp drones fly, been hooked up to a VR neuro device that either replaced all my memories with Adam Draper’s or allowed me to move digital blocks with my brain. I’ve had rocket parts brought into pitch meetings, Demos done through old VR headsets and new (over 5 years). However, the demos that always end up being worth it are the ones you have to show up to a location for.

This series over the next few weeks will be dedicated to the most incredible demos I’ve participated in:

Company Name: Gravity

I cold emailed Richard Browning after he was featured in a video building a jetpack. I wanted to figure out if it was real, and if it was real, could he come fly at Boost VC’s demo day. The answer to both was yes. He jumped on a flight, and I picked him up from the airport:

This is a picture of me holding a micro VTOL turbine engine that he carried on the plane. He also confessed that he had to explain his way through security with 6 of these things. The only stop we made before going out to dinner was at the gas station…his jetpack had to run on diesel fuel mixed with some sort of rocket fuel.

We went to dinner at the Refuge in San Carlos. I always want to give the Refuge advertising, because it’s amazing as long as you like food or pastrami sandwiches.

The next day he was going to fly the jetpack in front of hundreds of investors at our demo day, I did not know at the time that it was his first public demonstration.

Above is a picture of Richard prepping the gear. Again, he had never flown in public before. So a live demo… could have been very interesting. After minutes leading up to the event, he walked out to 200 investors waiting in a parking lot. The sound of these engines roaring is very difficult to imagine unless you have been right next to a jet engine before. Dirt kicked up all over as he pulled the trigger on the throttles and started to leave the ground.

Here’s a link to a quick video of him leaving the ground.

This experience was a full sensory experience. Dirt flew into our hair, the sound vibrated the earth, and for your entire life you have watched people fall victim to gravity, and be held down to the planet. When Richard took off for the first time, my brain freaked out. This guy wasn’t tethered to the ground anymore. I screamed with excitement because it really happened, I saw someone fly.

As the demo came to a close, my Dad and I walked up to him and gave him an offer on the spot. We signed it on the back of a $100 bill, on his back.

The investment decision was easy. I want more people to believe that people can fly. This guy did it.

Richard continues to inspire others to do the impossible. The company is thriving and we are proud to be a part of the journey.

Here’s the latest Gravity video of the jetpack demonstration to board big boats by the Royal Marines.