GoPro Acquires Sydney-based Smart Helmet Manufacturer Forcite

GoPro has recently announced its acquisition of Forcite, a Sydney-based developer renowned for its innovative smart motorbike helmets. These helmets offer various features like video capture, enhanced audio for riders, and hazard warnings.

Transaction Snapshot

  • Deal Value: N/A
  • Deal Type: Acquisition
  • Investors: GoPro Inc

Forcite Helmet Systems, established in Sydney, has been at the forefront of motorcycle helmet innovation. The idea was conceived in 2013 when Alfred Boyadgis, co-founder and CEO, had a motorcycle accident, inspiring him to develop helmets that could alert riders to potential hazards. Boyadgis, along with fellow industrial design graduate Julian Chow, conceptualised the initial designs of the Forcite MK1 smart motorcycle helmet.

The company has seen substantial growth, notably marked by a $5.5 million fundraise in early 2022. In August of the same year, Forcite established Forcite Labs, a research and development centre within the Australian Motorsport Innovation Precinct at Sydney Motorsport Park. Julian Chow emphasised their mission to redefine motorcycle technology and showcase Australian design on a global stage.

The acquisition by GoPro, a leader in wearable videography, is set to enhance Forcite's vision of creating a safer and more dynamic motorcycling experience. Nicholas Woodman, CEO of GoPro, expressed enthusiasm about expanding into the helmet market, starting with motorcycle helmets. The company plans to develop its own line of GoPro-branded helmets and collaborate with other leading helmet brands.

However, the acquisition has implications for shareholders. Preferential shareholders are poised to receive returns on their investment. In contrast, crowdfunding equity participants face significant losses of approximately 87%. This development follows Forcite's $24.2 million valuation in February 2022 and a subsequent $9 million distribution deal with Tucker Powersport in the US.

The transaction price is reportedly over $20 million, close to Forcite's 2022 valuation. This announcement comes after a difficult period for Forcite, following the bankruptcy of Tucker Powersports, which had a significant impact on the company's sales and operations. Despite this setback, the acquisition by GoPro represents a promising new chapter for Forcite and its technology.

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