The 2016 EY Entrepreneur of the Year Awards Gala last week in Toronto saw the Technology Award for the Ontario region handed out to Aeryon Labs Inc. President & CEO David Kroetsch, of Waterloo, Ontario, for being an industry leader in the design and production of small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS).
Founded in 2007, Aeryon Labs specializes in drones for the military, public safety and commercial operators market, with customers in 35 countries and having experienced mainly organic growth through its history, before attracting a $60 million investment from Boston’s Summit Partners last October.
“I am pleased to receive the 2016 EY Entrepreneur of the Year Technology Award on behalf of the team at Aeryon,” said Kroetsch. “It really is a group effort to keep innovating and testing the limits of our UAS platform. The last year has seen significant growth and change within the UAS industry and the company, and to be recognized with so many other great companies, is an honour.”
Aeryon’s Scout and SkyRanger unmanned aerial systems have been used recently by international relief organizations in the April 2015 Kathmandu earthquake and for December 2014’s Typhoon Hagupit disaster response in the Philippines, as well as for the relief operation in coastal Ecuador following a magnitude 7.8 earthquake in April, led by Canadian emergency relief organization GlobalMedic.
Aeryon’s sUAS are ideally suited to emergency response situations, being small and easy to use, but also because the vehicles’ use of solar panels means they can still be used in environments in which access to AC power for charging batteries is a challenge.
Aeryon has also recently landed contracts with various police forces, including the Surrey and Sussex Police in England, which are using the drones to help with collision investigation reconstruction, neighborhood response, command search and operations planning at Gatwick airport.
A recent report by ABI Research forecast that the small unmanned aerial systems (sUAS) market is set to surpass US$30 billion by 2025, demonstrating a 32% CAGR, with the commercial sector, including agriculture, industrial inspection, and professional videography applications, ready to surpass the defense market by 2017, furthermore accounting for more than 70% of all sUAS ecosystem revenues by 2025.
“It is readily apparent why defense sector sUAS suppliers, such as AeroVironment, Aeryon Labs, and Elbit Technologies, as well as consumer drone companies like 3D Robotics, DJI, Parrot, Yuneec, and others, are aggressively targeting the commercial sector through acquisitions, internal development, partnerships, and investment,” said Philip Solis, Research Director at ABI Research. “It is where the greatest long term growth opportunity lies. Many businesses within the commercial sector are willing to spend money on UAV-related services and applications to reduce costs and provide better service.”
Element Financial Corporation CEO Steven Hudson, who won EY’s Entrepreneur Of The Year award, and Diva International CEO Carinne Chambers, who received a special citation for Industry Disruptor, will both be honoured at a gala celebration on 22 November 2016 in Toronto, before moving on to EY’s global pool of more than 50 country recipients who will compete for the title of EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year.