Drone company tops $1m in crowdfunded equity, setting NZ record

The equity crowdfunding campaign for drone designer and manufacturer Aeronavics has already hit $1 million, making it the largest equity crowdfunding campaign undertaken in New Zealand.

The Raglan-based firm, whose global customers include NASA, Disney and DreamWorks, reached its initial target of $750,000 in three days through an offer on equity crowdfunding platform Snowball Effect. The offer had already attracted $414,500 from pre-registered investors, which is 55% of its $750,000 target.

Aeronavics is on track to hit its maximum funding cap of $1.5 million – or 15% of the company – when the offer closes on March 14, with 191 investors plugging in money so far.
Aeronavics director Linda Bulk says the popularity of the raise has exceeded expectations, and exceeding the initial target will let the company bring growth plans forward.

“We’ll be able to develop products in our R&D pipeline earlier, which will widen our range of solutions, boost and streamline our production capabilities and give us a real edge in this global market.”

Ms Bulk told NBR ONLINE last week that while some of its earlier designs were copied (it was the first company in the world to develop a professional multi-rotor airframe solution), the company plans to stay at the cutting edge of drone technology by “employing smart people who have the dedication to hunt for the latest in what’s possible.”

Aeronavics drones, with an average selling price of $20,000, are already used across a variety of industries worldwide, such as film, emergency services, oil and gas, farming and forestry. Its drones have a flying time of over an hour and take up to a 20kg weight load.

The company has a current company valuation of $8.5 million and plans to use crowd-raised funds for research and development, tooling and production line equipment, personnel and working capital.

Last financial year the company had pre-tax profit of $62,428 on revenue of $1.82 million. Its conservative estimates for the year ending March 31, 2015 is pre-tax loss of $77,382 on revenue of $1 million and for the 2016 year pre-tax profit of $340,600 on revenue of $2.62 million.
Shaun Edlin, Snowball Effect’s head of company pipeline and services, says the offer has set a new benchmark for equity crowdfunding in New Zealand and is the fastest raise on the Snowball Effect platform so far.

Snowball Effect’s previous three successful offers were Renaissance Brewing ($700,000), The Patriarch ($488,800) and CarbonScape ($764,302).

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