Botlink, a Fargo-based startup in the drone industry, has launched their first product on the market: a piece of hardware called the XRD (Extended Range and Data).

According to Botlink, the XRD allows users to process data in real-time and at extended ranges, including beyond-line-of-sight. Users secure the device to a drone, connect to the network, and can then process data in real-time on any mobile device. The XRD is compatible with every drone on the market.

“This is the first real-time cellular device on the market for drones,” said Drew Spooner, a marketing specialist for Botlink.

Botlink XRD currently retails for $500 and includes a free year of enterprise software ($1200 value), not including monthly cellular data costs.


The Botlink platform is currently being tested by over 600 beta users globally, according to Botlink COO and co-founder Shawn Muehler. This week marks the soft launch, and they will continue to listen to feedback as they begin to take orders and ship at the end of the month.

The launch comes after a year of research, development, and aggressive growth for the team.

“This whole month is the culmination of a year’s worth of hard work,” Spooner said.

It was nearly a year ago that we first published about Botlink, which was then a seven person team of pilots and software engineers building a platform for safer drone flying.

Botlink office

Botlink COO Muehler enjoying lunch in the new office.

Now, Botlink has grown so much – currently a team of 28 people – that they have nearly taken over the 5th floor of the Black Building. Most recently they hired on Drew Spooner, Jordan Nelson, Ryan Hatfield, and Matt Sullivan.

“Our goal is local talent,” Muehler said. “We haven’t hired one employee outside of Fargo.”

The intent, Mueher said, is to continue building up the “Silicon Prairie,” as it states on their (also newly launched) website.

“It’s about keeping talent here, and keeping the drone industry here,” he said.

Learn more about Botlink here.

Photos courtesy of Botlink.

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Marisa Jackels