Burrana

Image via Burrana

Burrana has upped its staff, assets and power, and is now taking stock of the cabin technology landscape.

Burrana’s history is deeply rooted in in-flight entertainment (IFE) – it first found success in the early 2000s with its portable hard-disk-based AVOD media player, digEplayer. Over the years, the company, then called digEcor, expanded its offering to include content services, cabin power, LED lighting, passenger service units and more, with IFE always at its core.

With the acquisition of Collins Aerospace’s IFE business under its wing, digEcor again expanded, adding production capacity and OEM relationships, and underwent a name change, re-emerging as Burrana (the indigenous Australian word for “to fly”), an even greater force in cabin technology. Approximately 1,400 commercial aircraft, representing 300-plus individual customers, currently fly with Burrana product on board – making it the third-largest player in the IFE space, after Panasonic Avionics and Thales.

“We are now a significant, but still small, player in a fairly big market.” – David Withers, Burrana

“We are now a significant, but still small, player in a fairly big market,” CEO David Withers said during a recent visit by APEX Media to the company’s new office, which will house executive, administrative and engineering staff, alongside skilled production in a modern, open space near Brisbane Airport. “Our focus is not to go and steal the position of number one or number two, but to grow from where we are … to make sure we capture additional market share, because we have the right technology and the right parts,” he said.

New customers, product lines, patents and other IP were acquired through the purchase of Collins’ IFE business, and Burrana has also gained significant human resource in both Irvine, California, and Mexicali, Mexico. But more staff is needed to execute growth plans.

Recruiting this talent is a task that falls to Peter Stevens, in his newly created role of chief of staff. “There are a number of new roles being created,” he says. “You’ve got to recruit the right people and get them in place. It’s about finding people who can bring technical expertise to the table, but it’s also about that can-do attitude. We’ve filled out the entire team that reports to David now. This is definitely a rapid-growth phase.”

Minding a smooth union of staff resources and cultures as well as continued financial stability for Burrana through this time of significant change is Andrew Mullis, chief financial officer. He says the business is generating solid cash flows and can be valued at around $60 million today. The executive team is confident that it can become a $200-million enterprise within the next five years – a goal that is equal parts aspirational and pragmatic.

“There’s a lot we need to do to get to that point, but we see the opportunity for us to become a larger player,” Mullis says. “Sixty million dollars to north of 200 million sounds like a big number, but it’s not really, given the size of the industry.”

“Sizing Up” was originally published in the 9.3 June/July issue of APEX Experience magazine.