About us

We design, manufacture and retail battery-powered Surface Supplied Breathing Apparatus (SSBA) under our registered brand AirBuddy.

AirBuddy is a small, portable surface supplied dive gear (hookah) for recreational, self-guided shallow water diving. AirBuddy provides a lightweight, compact and hassle-free alternative to air tanks. It runs off a rechargeable, battery-powered air compressor that provides fresh air from the surface for 55 min (+ reserve) at a max depth of up to 12 m (40ft).

Just recharge the battery and dive. No air refills, rentals, complicated logistics or bulky gear! AirBuddy is a popular choice for exploring reefs, hull cleaning, underwater boat maintenance, lobster diving or treasure hunting.

AirBuddy is a result of 4 years of R&D and 10 generations of working prototypes, followed by dozens of modifications and refinements after countless bench tests and real ocean dives.

AirBuddy evolved from a passion project that started in 2013 and since then made a splash winning several business competitions and design awards, attracting the attention of global media and dive communities, joining the ranks of top 1 percent of crowdfunding campaigns and receiving multiple government grants and private investments.

Today, we assemble AirBuddies at our Sydney-based factory, from 220 components that we source across Australia and internationally and ship to some 70 countries all over the world.

Our mission

We developed AirBuddy to give you the freedom to dive whenever you like without the hassle, cost or restrictive bulk of the air tank.

We hope that more people will explore and appreciate the beauty of our marine life. That they fall in love with the underwater environment, but also become aware of the ocean problems, such as coral bleaching, over-fishing, sound pollution or shark fining, that drive more of them to join conservation efforts.

Designed by divers for divers

Designed by divers for divers

Our story

2013
2013

Idea born

Jan moves to a Sydney beach and is looking for a solution how to dive on weekends without having to spend hours organising air tanks and finding parking
close to the dive site. His strong passion for diving combined with disappointment with the available hookah systems on the market leads him to the idea of developing the world’s most portable, easy-to-use diving system.

2014
2014

Prototyping

After months studying diving physics and human respiration, we defined the core functional and safety requirements, performed various calculations, drafted the basic design and began sourcing key components. The first prototype from early 2014 followed another 9 generations of prototypes over the next 3.5 years as we performed countless tests and gathered more experience. Once a hobby project turned into a viable product. And uncertainty of a start-up replaced the comfortable corporate jobs.

2017
2017

Funding

AirBuddy could never get off the ground without raising funds for the capital-intensive production start. Raising over 1 million A$ from a successful crowdfunding campaign (on Kickstarter and Indiegogo), multiple government grants, a private investment, prize money from won business competitions, combined with our own savings, gave AirBuddy the “green light” to continue. A huge success, but also a giant commitment! Over 400 customers waited for their pre-orders. We had no
room for any mistakes.

2018
2018

Building the factory

As they say: “Prototypes are easy, production is hard.” Traveling around the world, vetting factories, completing DFM, commissioning tooling, partnering with suppliers and logistics companies, finding premises, building our own production line (with many custom-made tools, jigs and testing equipment), defining assembly procedures, hiring and training staff, passing certifications … and the list continues. It was one extremely long year.

2019
2019

First shipments

As we were getting closer to the shipping start, we quickly realised the challenges of global DG (Dangerous Goods) distribution which is required for lithium batteries. Our packaging had to pass laboratory testing, we had to get DG trained and receive HQ-level approvals to open specialised (rare) shipping accounts with DHL and FedEx. Nevertheless, before the end of the year, we shipped 400+ pre- orders to all Kickstarter and Indiegogo backers.

2020
2020

Online shop launch

Launching an online shop for a product that is typically associated with leisure and travel about one month before the Covid outbreak wasn’t the ideal timing that we wished for. Our first year on the market in normal modus operandi (after crowdfunding) can certainly be regarded as “baptism by fire”. Luckily, we managed to keep the momentum and even grow despite the lock-downs.

2021
2021

Award winner (x2)

We were proud and honored for the recognition of our hard work by two prestige design awards:
1) Good Design Award – Gold Winner 2) A’ Design Award – Bronze Winner
The same year, we also managed to implement several product improvements (incl. longer dive time) and increase efficiency of our production.

2022
2022

Global market development

Another critical milestone for AirBuddy was the acquisition of the airbuddy.com web domain and complete redesign of our website, improving every aspect of it, including a product configurator, acceptance of payments in 10 currencies, addition of new accessories and parts, live chat support, multi- language, etc.
And the journey continues…

AirBuddy divers all around the world

AirBuddy divers all around the world

AirBuddy
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