Kick-starting Terre Haute’s economy


TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) – Aerial drones for consumers. It might sound dangerous, but one man’s vision is opening up a new market in Indiana. Thursday night, he sat down with the Terre Haute tech community to not only share his drones, but to kick start the Terre Haute tech community.

Whizzing, and whirring an aerial drone and its creator TJ Johnson are reaching new heights throughout Indiana.

“We are really starting (to enter the) consumer market as a video photography platform,” Johnson said.  “Something the action sports guys can use to film themselves or if you wanted to film your kids while you’re out playing it’s more of a floating camera.”

What made T.J’s idea take off is almost as interesting as these family friendly drones. The entire project was funded through a Kickstarter campaign.

“It’s called a crowd funding platform,” he went on to say. “It allows people to pre-buy a product. If the people like it and there are enough market sales, then we produce it. If not, then everyone gets their money back.”

T.J’s Kickstarter campaign allowed him to launch his new company. That’s what brought him to Terre Haute Thursday evening to talk with members of Terre Haute’s tech community.

“He’s going to school us on the ins and outs of intellectual property for software and hardware start ups,” David Dubree of the tech community group Verge Terre Haute said. “(He’ll) show us what it takes to build a drone and go through the whole kick starter fundraising process.”

If you think drones like these are for the birds, behind a successful company launch is something Dubree said this economy sorely needs.

“Every start up founder has to bring in employees at some point,” he said. “So it’s creating jobs. Everybody who starts up a company is creating jobs and most jobs are from small businesses. ”

Maybe the idea behind the flight is exactly what the Wabash Valley needs to kick start its economy. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you confirm your email address and acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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