This seems like a really counter-intuitive question to ask a private company. Isnt that the goal of all enterprises? Try to deliver a return to it's shareholders?
To answer this question properly I have to go back to the very beginning of this company. We started in 2012, nobody was talking about drones. The "in" thing then were 3D printers. It was the year Makerbot launched Replicator printer. It was not obvious that there was even money to be made. Most industry players thought that the dough was in selling the hardware to the military. We started Avetics because we saw the potential in the technology, and more importantly the industry was still at its infancy, like a blank sheet of paper that we can expand our creativity on.
So why bother making money? We could have still participated in the drone industry by doing research in universities. There are 3 reasons why we do so.
1) Every dollar that a client pays us is a vote for our work. It validates that what we create ultimately has value to the society. We choose to think that the biggest impact any technology can have is in the real world application. Often times we have to tweak the drones to suite what our customers need. Also, charging for any service helps our client focus on telling us what is truly important. If all drone services or customisation of the drone were free then I can be sure our clients will have endless demands. Because there is a price for our services/products, our clients are forced to think of what really matters to them. This process of finding true needs ensure that we spend our time on innovation with the greatest real world application.
2) We want to pay ourselves well. I do not mean paying the shareholders, directors or the boss well but the team in general. Generating revenue allow us ability to compensate people for their ability properly. Otherwise, even if they love the job, it will be hard to focus since they also have to survive on a less than ideal paycheck and settle for a less than ideal life. But this is easier said than done. In a startup there is always competing priorities for limited resources. We have to strike a fine balance. There will be times when we cannot compensate the team fully and have to ask everyone to sacrifice; when times are better we will share more of the profits.
3) Risk requires capital. Innovation often means trying new things and some of these endeavors are not successful and does not return anything on investment. We should keep trying and it requires capital. Unfortunately for us drone research is not cheap, every error we make can cost thousands and days. Our company history is short but we have our fair share of failures. We tried to build a vertical fixed wing plane earlier on only using 1 propeller. It took off vertically (but we didnt manage to make it land vertically). Our website captures a portion of the services that we have commercialised and there are more coming. We have reinvested a very large portion of our revenue into R&D efforts and will continue to do so.
To summarise, money allows us to take risks, client paying for our work is a vote for usefulness and paying our team well allows them to focus on innovating and delivering the best.