Big news for Teal Drones, the company perhaps most famous for being founded by a 16-year-old. Teal Drones announced today that it would be acquired by Red Cat Holdings, a publicly-traded company that provides drone products, technologies and services.
Red Cat, which is based in Puerto Rico, acquired Teal in an all-stock transaction and will add Teal Drones to its existing portfolio as an anchor of Red Cat’s enterprise group.
Red Cat previously had four operating subsidiaries (now five), including famous names like Fat Shark, which is perhaps best known for its role making FPV goggles for drone racing (though it also makes other products like an all-in-the-box FPV drone racing kit. The portfolio also includes drone lifestyle and racing brand Rotor Riot, remote inspection company Skypersonic and Dronebox, an analytics platform for cloud-based flight intelligence.
That’s a pretty comprehensive coverage of the entire drone world — racing, lifestyle, data analytics, inspections and more. And with the additional of Teal, there’s an enterprise and military component to Red Cat, too.
“Adding Teal to the Red Cat family is a natural expansion of the group deeper into the enterprise and government spaces,” Jeff Thompson, CEO of Red Cat said in a prepared statement. “Teal’s Golden Eagle drone platform and its existing access to the Department of Defense combined with the market reach and experience of Red Cat should well-position the joint group for unbridled success as the industry grows.”
Teal was founded back in 2015 by George Matus, a then sophomore in high school who had received the acclaimed Thiel Fellowship. Within two years of its founding, then 18-year-old Matus launched his first product, the Teal drone, a modular device that promised to be everything — a camera drone, a racing drone, even an enterprise-grade drone.
The media ate it up, earning dozens of accolades, including a spot on Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list. But the drone didn’t actually launch for another two years in 2018 as the Teal One in a departure from the universal platform idea. Though, Teal did separately Teal launch a pared-down version of the initial product announced in 2016 by way of a racing-focused drone called the Teal Sport, which sold for about $500.
Alas, neither drone really took off as much as the original media attention may have led you to believe.
But that wasn’t the end of Teal. In fact, quite the opposite. Teal made a giant pivot, and in 2019, Teal was named one of six companies awarded a collective $11 million to design and build drones that meet Army requirements. By 2020, thermal sensor-maker FLIR was making a dual sensor module for drones called Hadron — built in close partnership with none other than Teal. And by summer 2020, Teal launched a far more mature drone, the Teal Golden Eagle. That commercial drone platform designed for aerial surveillance included industrial-grade technology ready for most demanding aerial operations.
But still true to the initial conception at launch, Teal still has an open and modular platform, designed to allow a critical mass of applications to be developed and integrated for next-generation capabilities.
Today, Teal’s drones are used by other major drone players including Autonodyne, Tomahawk Robotics, Dronelink and Skyward.
And Teal expects to leverage Red Cat’s position to continue to grow.
“With Red Cat’s operational expertise and access to capital, Teal is amazingly positioned to rebuild America’s drone industrial base across sectors,” said George Matus, CEO of Teal in a prepared statement. “We are incredibly excited to join Red Cat as Golden Eagle scales production and further applications are released.