Sydney family-owned Sphere Drones has acquired peer Rise Above Custom Drones & Robotics to create a business with $20 million revenue and 100,000 customers.
Sphere Drones has 60,000 customers and sells drones, land borne robots and subsea remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) from brands including Boston Dynamics, Skydio and DJI. Its clients include the BHP, Fortescue, Sydney Water and NSW Police.
Rise Above has 40,000 odd customers, who are primarily recreational drone flyers like mum and dads buying a drone to fly on the beach or as a high-tech education toy.
The acquisition would give Sphere access to Rise Above’s recreational drone enthusiasts and the latter’s expertise in robotics.
The company reckons many drone users start out with the devices as recreational users before using them commercially in businesses.
Drones are tipped to contribute $14.5 billion to the Australian economy by 2040 and support 5,500 full-time equivalent jobs on average a year, according to a 2020 report commissioned by the government from Deloitte Access Economics.
At the time of the report, drones contributed about $5.5 billion.
Many miners have gone from owning just a couple of drones a few years ago to keeping a fleet of them now.
Sphere expected an opportunity in robotics process automation, where big companies use robotics to remove human from unsafe sites like warehouses or mining sites by giving them to technology to operate equipment remotely.
Sphere Drones has been around since 2012 and was founded by Paris Cockinos, the third generation of the Sydney family. It’s a part of the Sphere Group whose other business is Paris Radio, two-way radio communication business that has service contracts with airlines, construction, hospitality and events, retail and security companies.
Paris Radio is a reseller for two-way radios from Motorola, ICOM and VHF, and also sells radio accessories like batteries, chargers and carriers.
Source: Australian Financial Review