xReality Group Limited (ASX:XRG) specializes in virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and physical simulation for the enterprise, defense and consumer markets. The company’s primary focus is to provide physical and digital simulations for military and law enforcement applications. XR stands for extended reality and is a catch-all term for VR, AR, and mixed reality (MR).
The company was co-founded by two Australian military veterans to build physical skydiving simulators for both military training and the tourist market. The company has since expanded its simulation portfolio from indoor skydiving to include out-of-home virtual reality entertainment, defense XR training, and XR software development. xReality targets both the entertainment and the enterprise markets, which include defense, law enforcement, and other government agencies.
The company was listed on the ASX on January 18, 2013, as Indoor Skydive Australia Group (ASX:IDZ) and was rebranded to xReality Group on December 8, 2021.
It operates four major brands, and the group’s portfolio companies include XR production company Red Cartel, Operator XR, two Australian indoor skydiving facilities, and FREAK Virtual Reality venues.
The global total addressable market for the Operator XR business in the law enforcement and military markets is valued at about $3.37 billion in annual recurring revenue (ARR). Of this, the United States accounts for $1.3 billion, or 40 percent of the total, while the rest of the world is $2 billion. xReality has rightly been focusing on increasing its presence in the US given its relatively high share in the global context.
The global military market is significantly higher than the law enforcement market. Overall, the military market is valued at $2.68 billion, and the law enforcement market is valued at $682.6 million. Here again, the US is a significant player accounting for the largest share of the global pie in both military and law enforcement.
In the US, there are around 14 tier-1 law enforcement agencies (with 5,000 to 50,000 officers), 170 tier-2 agencies (with 500 to 5,000 officers), and 2,924 tier-3 agencies (with 40 to 500 officers). In total, the overall US law enforcement market is estimated at $170 million to $447 million in ARR.
Moreover, the US military market is almost three times the size of the law enforcement market, with an annual military budget of $842 billion. The addressable market is estimated at $499 million to $1.3 billion.
With annual revenues of about AU$10 million, xReality’s market share has a significant runway for growth. The company’s strategy to focus on its entry into the US market has seen some traction with first sales in the US in August 2023. The company has since expanded its US sales team, and the US sales pipeline is rapidly growing.
Listed on the ASX, xReality Group is an Australia-based company that specializes in building and operating virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and physical simulation for the enterprise, defense and consumer leisure markets.The company serves both entertainment and enterprise segments that include defense and law enforcement agencies.xReality operates four major brands across the end markets which include – iFly Downunder and iFly Gold Coast (both entertainment and enterprise); Freak Entertainment (retail market); Red Cartel (both entertainment and enterprise); and Operator XR (enterprise), the most important segment for the company focused on defense and law enforcement agencies.The total addressable market for the Operator XR segment is valued at US$3.37 billion with the US accounting for nearly 40 percent of the total market.The company is focusing on the US market and has already made its first law enforcement sale in the US in August 2023. The impact of this first US sale enhances the company’s reputation and credibility, serving as a testament to the quality of its products.xReality recently (Nov 2023) raised AU$2.9 million via a rights issue, of which nearly AU$2 million will be used to accelerate its US growth and the remainder will be used to reduce debt.
Key Business Units
Operator XR focuses on the enterprise segment, more specifically the defense and law enforcement sectors. Operator XR systems help military personnel and law enforcement officers train in operational tactics and procedures within a virtual reality environment. The VR system complements the existing training methods and helps its users to train more often, covering a broad range of scenarios centered on de-escalation tactics, use of force decision-making, and operational procedures.
The system was developed from the ground up, using the latest innovations in VR technology, with all IP owned by xReality. The company has invested a total of AU$2.5 million in the ongoing development of the Operator XR product. Operator XR offers several benefits: First, it provides a software platform that can be easily updated and configured. It offers significant cost savings and can simulate threats that cannot be replicated by other means. Second, it helps create the virtual environment at a fraction of the cost and time. Third, it creates an immersive environment allowing the use of live weapons and equipment leading to greater preparedness. Lastly, it can work offline enabling the training anytime and anywhere.
With offices in Sydney and Virginia, the segment focuses on two main markets – Australia and the US. The Australian operations were launched in 2021, followed by the US in 2023. With a go-to-market strategy focused on the ‘tier 3’ segment of the US law enforcement market, xReality made its first US law enforcement sale in August 2023. Tier 3 market includes nearly 3,000 police agencies with 40 to 500 officers. These agencies typically have much shorter sales cycles and faster procurement pathways than larger state and federal agencies.
The strategy seems to be working with xReality seeing a surge in their total sales pipeline in the US, which stands at AU$31 million with 60 individual qualified opportunities at various stages.
iFly Downunder and iFly Gold Coast
xReality operates indoor skydiving facilities under the brands – iFly Downunder (located in Sydney) and iFly Gold Coast (located in Queensland). During FY 2023, xReality invested significantly in enhancing both iFly Downunder and iFly Gold Coast, resulting in upgrades to mechanical cooling systems, IT hardware and building works. This segment serves both the entertainment and enterprise markets. The first indoor skydiving tunnel was launched in 2014. Since then, xReality has been serving about 200,000 visitors annually. iFly provides a steady, stable revenue cash flow, essential to fund the growth side of the business.
Freak Entertainment is xReality’s virtual reality entertainment brand, established in 2019 to bring a market-leading VR experience to a retail footprint. The brand and IP are 100 percent owned by xReality, which includes cutting-edge technology and in-house-built games. It has served nearly 300,000 customers across its five locations in New South Wales and Queensland. Freak Entertainment venues offer various entertainment options such as VR arcade games, VR Escape Rooms, and VR Laser Tag among others.
Red Cartel develops software products that cater to both the entertainment and enterprise markets. A leading expert in developing AR, VR, XR and enterprise software for the entertainment, oil and gas, healthcare, mining and government sectors, Red Cartel has more than 20 years of market track record. xReality acquired Red Cartel in August 2021 to deliver in-house development capability and support its other three businesses.
John Diddams – Non-Executive Chairman
John Diddams holds a bachelor’s degree in commerce from the University of NSW, is a fellow of the Australian Society of CPAs, and is a fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. He has more than 40 years of financial and management experience in Australia and overseas, with rich experience in the practical application of ASX listing rules, Australian corporations’ law, international accounting standards, and corporate governance principles. Diddams has a strong track record in driving business performance, mergers and acquisitions, due diligence and corporate governance.
Wayne Jones – Director and Chief Executive Officer
Wayne Jones has been the company’s founder and CEO since November 2011. Before establishing xReality, he was a Commander with the Special Air Service Regiment (SASR) and was responsible for the development and performance of teams in complex and challenging environments. He holds formal qualifications in project management, business, security, and risk management, and financial management, and is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. He has more than 25 years of experience in leading teams and delivering results. He is an experienced skydiver and maintains his involvement with the Australian Defense Force. He is also the president of the Australian Special Air Service Association (NSW Branch).
Danny Hogan – Non-Executive Director
Danny Hogan joined the Australian Regular Army in 1991 and, in 1997 was selected for further service within the Special Air Service Regiment. He has been recognized and awarded for his actions and leadership during his 21-year military career, including the Medal for Gallantry. He was selected for and completed a two-year military exchange in the US with two of the country’s elite Special Forces Commands. Hogan was a highly qualified senior dive instructor within the Special Air Service Regiment. He served as an executive director and the chief operations officer of xReality from the foundation of the company until November 2019, at which time he became a non-executive director. He is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
Kim Hopwood – Executive Director and Chief Technology and Products Officer
Kim Hopwood has more than 20 years of experience across technology, media, management, and operations. He started his career as a network engineer at Cisco, then co-founded digital agency Pusher in 2004. He has worked with xReality since 2012 as a supplier, and then as a freelance consultant before joining full-time in 2019. In his role as chief technology and products officer, he is responsible for all products along with the development of company strategy.
Mark Smethurst – Non-Executive Director
Mark Smethurst is an accomplished senior executive leader, with a highly successful track record commanding large and diverse teams both in Australia and overseas. He is a former Australian Military Brigadier General and has rich experience in dealing with Australian and international defense and supply chains. He was head of preparedness, and director of General Joint Force Analysis, responsible for developing futures concepts, experimentation, lessons, and preparedness.
Philip Copeland – Non-Executive Director
Philip Copeland is an experienced senior leader in the enterprise software-as-a-service (SaaS) sector and has a highly successful track record scaling enterprise SaaS businesses into global markets across highly regulated industries including government and financial services. He was the former CEO and founder of Avoka Software, a digital business enablement platform. He is the chairman of xReality’s International Growth Committee.
Stephen Tofler – Chief Financial Officer
Stephen Tofler was appointed CFO and company secretary in February 2019. He has more than 20 years of experience as a CFO in financial services, manufacturing and in public practice. He is formally qualified as a CPA, maintains a CPA Public Practice Certificate, and has a Bachelor of Business degree.