SkyKelpie - Luke Chaplain
Hone Program 2
8 May 2023
Luke is a fourth generation grazier from North West Queensland. He studied Agribusiness at Marcus Oldham College and in 2022 was awarded a Nuffield Scholarship.
He founded his agtech startup, SkyKelpie, in 2021 after theorising that drones could be used as a safer and more affordable alternative to traditional and helicopter mustering.
Luke is now recognised as Australia’s leading experts in drone mustering and aerial stockmanship. His vision is to give livestock handlers the tools to unlock the immense benefits drones have to offer.
SkyKelpie is now positioned as a world leader in drone mustering and aerial stockmanship. The company utilises drones in livestock mustering to create a safer and more affordable solution to helicopter and traditional practices. Importantly, SkyKelpie is pioneering the education behind aerial stockmanship through online training.
Luke applied to the Hatch Program (formally Ideas Program) in 2020 to explore the idea of developing an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) for the movement of livestock. He entered the program to clearly define ‘what is the problem’ and ‘what is the demand’ for his idea. Luke identified an opportunity to explore an alternative to helicopter mustering in order to make the operations of mustering safer, more efficient and cost effective.
Over the course of the Hone Program, Luke has focussed on sales, marketing and business processes. This has largely been driven by a publicity opportunity which has seen SkyKelpie featured on the ABC Landline program, aired in early June.
Luke is currently selling drone packages via his website and facilitating one-day workshops to learn about the latest technology, regulations and aerial stockmanship. He is solidifying plans to set up the “SkyKelpie Academy” which will be an online, interactive learning platform for those wanting to master the art of aerial stockmanship, which forms part of a holistic solution for the adoption of drone-centric mustering. The academy will also support customers in obtaining their licensing and regulatory requirements.
Luke is also working toward setting SkyKelpie up to be an investable business with a view to future capital raises, particularly focussing on IP, governance structures, and an overarching investment strategy that includes ‘metrics that matter’ to investors.
“I always learn more than expected in the F2F programs. The best part is the community of peers and mentors that I could contact for advice and support.”
Luke’s goal for the next 12 months is to set SkyKelpie up for launch at the Beef Australia 2024 event located in Rockhampton in May 2024. This event is the largest beef trade event in the Southern Hemisphere attracting a global audience. The launch will include the SkyKelpie Academy, an online interactive learning platform for aerial stockmanship.