Alex Pryor

FROM COMMANDO TO BUSINESS SUCCESS

Alex Pryor has gone from commando to entrepreneur in under a decade, successfully launching two technology-based businesses aimed at streamlining the construction industry.

Former commando Alex Pryor is now a successful business owner. Covid lockdowns means his drone business has taken off, with virtual inspections of building sites.  Prince’s Trust Australia programs help Alex – and other veterans – build businesses after leaving the military.

Soldier On’s Pathways Program team works in collaboration with organisations like the Prince’s Trust Australia to enable veterans and their families to secure their future careers.

Mr Pryor credits Prince’s Trust Australia with helping him take the leap of faith into entrepreneurship.

Business boomed during the Covid-19 pandemic – a 30 per cent increase almost overnight, Mr Pryor said – when stakeholders and management needed to ‘see’ worksites without physically visiting the sites.

“Being military, that’s where I thrive, I thrive in chaos,” he said.

The 39-year-old started his small business journey with Pryority Droneworks, which serviced the construction industry, and took it a step further with Sync Technologies, which aimed to increase productivity on jobsites.

Alex's Drone business has really taken off during the Covid-19 pandemic
Alex’s Drone business has really taken off during the Covid-19 pandemic

Mr Pryor credits Prince’s Trust Australia with helping him take the leap of faith into entrepreneurship.

“Prince’s Trust had these single day events, you know a come and see what it’s like on the dark side of start-up life,” he said.

“That was the catalyst really to go, okay, let’s have a crack at it.”

But when Mr Pryor left the military he had no plans to bring technology to the construction industry, which has the second lowest level of digital maturity in Australia.

The Sync Technologies Chief Operating Officer joined the Australian Army as a commando in 2004 and was posted to the 4th Battalion, Royal Australia Regiment in Sydney, which became the 2nd Commando Regiment.

He discharged in 2010 with half a dozen or so deployments under his belt, “not too scarred from service” and having achieved everything he’d set out to do while in uniform.

At that stage the GFC was at its peak and, despite plans to manage a security business, Mr Pryor ended up working 15 jobs in 18 months and somehow found himself in the construction industry.

By 2018 he’d moved up the civilian ranks – from apprentice carpenter to supervisor, foreman and project manager – when old service injuries caught up with him.

Two hip replacements later and Mr Pryor was advised by his surgeon to get off the tools.

Post-surgery and while on a DVA-facilitated placement with defence contractor, Rheinmetall, Mr Pryor read about Prince’s Trust Australia in one of the company’s bulletins.

“At that stage I had about 20 hours of rehab and doctor appointments during the week and then squeezing in trying to ramp back up into full time work,” he said.

“So during that Prince’s Trust event I thought, well, why not (start a business)?

“The big attraction was having flexibility to schedule my day.” 

That was the start of Pryority Droneworks, where Mr Pryor used technologies he was familiar with from defence – drones, scanners and sensors – to create 3D data for builders and designers.

The Brisbane local then took all that knowledge, technology and skill, from both Pryority Droneworks and his time in the military, and launched his second company, Sync Technologies, with co-founder Carolina Dreifuss and the backing of investment platform Antler.

At a basic level, the company uses technology to ensure everyone working on a construction project has the information they need to be on the same page. Much like the missions Mr Pryor undertook as a commando.

Mr Pryor said he never thought of himself as an entrepreneur. But with two successful businesses to his name, there is little doubt the title fits.

Alex Pryor, former commando and successful business entrepreneur
Alex Pryor, former commando and successful business entrepreneur

The former commando said his biggest struggle becoming a business owner was learning to delegate, while one of the most valuable lessons he learnt was accepting failure as part of the process.

Mr Pryor said his advice for anyone considering the start-up life was to just give it a go.

“It’s worse thinking about it than actually doing it,” he said.

The Prince’s Trust Australia supports all entrepreneurs in the veteran community, including transitioning defence members, military veterans, and ADF partners of current or former serving members. Entrepreneurs are supported throughout the journey of starting a business, including exploration, ideation and growth.

Find out more about Alex’s business: www.synctech.io

Register online for The Prince’s Trust Australia Enterprise program.

Find out more about Soldier On employment support and education support for veterans and their families contact employment@soldieron.org.au or call 1300 620 380 and ask to talk with your local Pathways Officer.

Article from The Prince’s Trust Australia.

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