Sam Vye and Cameron Baker set up Bay of Plenty company Envico Technologies two and a half years ago to develop tech for conservation. After some world firsts with drone technology and becoming well known for “big drones” both domestically and internationally, the partners have also recently started Syos Aerospace.
“The vision is to become a world-leading drone manufacturer, specialising on heavy-lift utility drones,” said Vye. “By 2024 we aim to have a production facility in the Bay producing 200 units per annum, exporting 95 percent to target regions, tapping into a projected $45 billion market.”
The company plans a Series A investment round at the end of 2021 to facilitate this growth. According to the company’s mission statement, the aim is to develop pioneering technology solutions for environmental sustainability.
“Our purpose is to identify and develop suitable solutions that can overcome our present problems that negatively impact our environment. Whether that problem is detecting invasive species, effective invasives control or deforestation. We are focused on practical and viable solutions for every problem we set out to solve.”
Manufacturing business planned for Bay
Vye said the company decided to set up a manufacturing business in the Bay to develop the drone platform, and to become a certified aircraft manufacturer.
According to Vye, the response to the company’s products has been huge. “It will most likely be more of an international market, but there will be some domestic sales,” Vye told Bay of Plenty Business News.
As noted, the company is expecting around 95 per cent of its sales from abroad – markets such as the US and Europe and Asia.
“There definitely is high interest in New Zealand, but we don’t really have competition in the class we’re in, anywhere in the world,” said Vye.
He pointed out that any company that starts off in New Zealand most likely they will be doing more overseas than domestically simply because of the sheer size of the available markets overseas.
“The response has been huge,” he said. “The attraction has been because we’ve developed a product that is highly practical and not just based on aesthetics or just to get the investors interested. We’ve actually developed a product we would like to use ourselves.” “We don’t really have competition in the class we’re in anywhere in the world,” he said.
Vye said that one of the requirements of the drone was that it could be delivered to sites anywhere in the world or around New Zealand – either on the back of a trailer or in a shipping container – without any disassembly being required, most places worldwide. This reduced transportation costs, he said.