When entrepreneur Louis Ziskin says, “My best days are in front of me,” he’s not kidding. Ziskin had spectacularly built an eight-figure business in a scant four years and then lost it all in an instant. A crafty, highly capable businessman in the wrong game, he was busted for the largest-ever U.S. government seizure of the drug 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine, more commonly known as Ecstasy.
Executive SummaryLike the drone squadron he now commands—more than 1,100 drone pilots—Louis Ziskin is soaring in his role as CEO of DropIn. Starting with a crowdsourced independent contractor network of 60,000 droperators, and taking flight in the world of InsurTech with drones as well, Ziskin has found backers in Silicon Valley by capturing the minds of believers who measure him in terms of how far he has come from a checkered past that's now behind him.
In 2001, Ziskin and two associates were convicted on charges of smuggling millions of doses of Ecstasy, which they had acquired in Europe and shipped by overnight courier to Los Angeles. Following the verdict, he was incarcerated for 12 years at the U.S. Penitentiary in Lompoc, Calif.
A changed man since his release in 2012, Ziskin has parlayed his estimable business chops into the launch of DropIn Inc., one of the more talked-about startups in the fast-growing insurance technology space dubbed InsurTech.
Founded in 2015, DropIn markets on-demand live video streaming services over live feeds to insurance companies for claims processing. Using DropIn’s technology on a smartphone, a driver in a car accident can contact and communicate with a claims adjuster using video conferencing. Or the adjuster can be visually apprised of the damage in real time from a “droperator”—DropIn’s term for a contracted smartphone user who sends on-demand video. This instantly shifts the claims payment mechanism into gear.