Our Team

The Iris team is a diverse group of experts from around the world specialising in Computer Vision, AI, Robotics, Simulation, Embedded Systems and Autonomous Vehicles.

Team Values

Our culture revolves around the core values that drive work at Iris every day. A focus on collaboration, growth, hard work, and keeping active and healthy drives everyone to better themselves in and out of the office.


We prioritize safety and trust each other to take on responsibilities, follow through, and ask for support when we need it.

Continuous Learning

We are curious people with broad interests who cultivate a learning environment.


We celebrate and create space for each other’s work, differences, and humaness.


We work hard, work smart, and stay calm and positive under pressure. 


We build connections not only with each other, but with regulators, customers, and the aviation industry.

Open Communication

We are approachable and give and accept feedback, input, and help from all teammates.

Board and Advisors


David Cowan

Board Member David Cowan is a partner in Bessemer Ventures Partners and launched Bessemer’s practices in cloud infrastructure, consumer tech, cyber-security and space tech. During David’s time with Bessemer his portfolio has included companies such as LinkedIn, Twitch and Skybox Imaging. David has also co-founded three cyber security companies and overseen over 20 IPOs. David holds an MBA from Harvard University.

Russ Muzzolini

As an experienced startup and engineering team leader, Russ brings his knowledge of software development, agile business scaling, and talent acquisition and retention to Iris Automation where he serves as a technical leadership adviser. Previously he served as CTO at Spire Global, Inc., a satellite-powered data company. Under Russ’ leadership Spire designed, manufactured, and launched 30 nano-satellites operating in low-earth orbit. He also oversaw the development of software for the fleet that performs multi-source data aggregation, storage, analytics, and data services for a range of customer use cases.

John Walker

John has fifty-one years of aviation experience in a career rich in air traffic control, airspace management, flight navigation, and airport development skills. John’s aviation career includes thirty-two years with the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) as well as four years served in the United States Air Force. His last Senior Executive Service assignment was served as the FAA’s Program Director of Airspace Management. At Iris Automation, John lends his vast experience and wisdom of the aviation regulatory environment in the United States and around the globe to our efforts in enabling drones to fly safely within the national airspace.

Geoff Ralston

As an advisor through Y-Combinator, Geoff brings his expertise in the technological and business development of enterprise software products to Iris and provides valuable support for our team. Geoff was a founder of Four11, where he built RocketMail, one of the first web mail services, which in 1997 became Yahoo Mail. At Yahoo Geoff worked in engineering, then ran a business unit, then became Chief Product Officer. After Yahoo he was CEO of Lala, which was acquired in 2009 by Apple. He has an AB in Computer Science from Dartmouth, an MS in Computer Science from Stanford, and an MBA from INSEAD.

Scott Smith

Scott Smith is an Independent Board member, drawing on his almost 40 years of experience managing large, complex commercial aerospace programs. As the recently retired chief operating officer and board member of Iridium, Scott led technology development and operations, including all ground and satellite operations for the company. Previously, Scott was chief operating officer of DigitalGlobe Inc., a commercial remote sensing satellite company, where he was responsible for the company’s satellite and ground operations, engineering organization, and corporate and global expansion initiatives. He earned his degrees in aerospace engineering from Syracuse University and Master of Science in aeronautical and astronautical engineering from Stanford University.