Drone seller IoT Group has bought into a Sydney delivery startup — but it’s not what you think.

Tech giant Google started testing of drone delivery in Australia last year — but IOT’s acquisition target, RUNA, has its feet firmly planted on the ground.

Two-year-old RUNA aims to be a significant player in (non-drone) delivery of everyday items.

While food delivery specialists  such as Deliveroo and UberEATS are now commonplace, RUNA says no one yet owns the broader delivery space.

Though that plan seems to place RUNA on a collision course with Amazon, which plans to launch its Prime delivery subscription service in Australia soon.

IoT Group (ASX:IOT) founder Sean Nelyon said the deal — to buy 25 per cent of RUNA — refocused the company back to its roots as an “Internet of Things” business.

IOT has bought into app-based delivery service RUNA.
IOT has bought into app-based delivery service RUNA.

The usual definition of Internet of Things concerns a network of physical devices, be they vehicles or home appliances, that are embedded with electronics enabling them to connect with other devices and exchange data.

IOT says the deal was in line with a focus on IOT because delivery is a case of devices talking to devices, via apps.

The company started out with smart watches and the ROAM-E selfie drones.

“There are a lot of devices doing a lot of things to get a product to your door,” he told Stockhead, and as such buying a 25 per cent stake in RUNA was a good fit for the business.

The news did not budge IoT's share price at all.
The news did not budge IoT’s share price at all. It was flat on Thursday morning at 0.8c.

The $600,000 deal will be paid partly in cash, with RUNA valued at 20c a share, and partly in IoT scrip valued at 0.6c a share.

It also comes with 1.5 million performance options worth 25c.

RUNA is still in beta mode and testing the delivery service in Sydney’s East and Northern beaches. It allows people to order anything, from beers to medication to groceries, through an app.

It plans to launch in other cities in Australia next month, and has ambitious plans to move into New Zealand, Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan and Malaysia.

Mr Neylon says they are looking at buying other businesses and products to add to the two selfie drones they currently sell.

He says that while drone sales were not great over Christmas (an issue he blamed on getting products into stores in November, which he says was too late), he has high hopes for the coming year.

IoT Group is currently raising $2.3 million from existing shareholders, and has extended the deadline for investors to participate by almost a month.


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