Justice Laub and Daniel Kanes had what they were sure would be TV dynamite: televised drone races. The Southern California tech enthusiasts lined up a TV production deal in 2015 and a $250,000 investment from New York entrepreneur Nicholas Horbaczewski.

Today the Drone Racing League is indeed a big hit. Its events are broadcast on ESPN and Sky Sports. The league raised a $20 million investment in June. Horbaczewski is being lauded for building DRL from the ground up.