Aussie Entrepreneur Reveals How He Sold His Home And Risked Everything To Launch A Roof Rack Company Now Worth $250 Million — And The Ingenious Reason Behind The Rhino-Rack Name
- Richard Cropley founded the roof rack company Rhino-Rack in 1992
- The entrepreneur sold his house in Sydney to launch the business
- Manufactures and sells racks, luggage boxes, bike carriers and sun hoods
- The company now has 250 employees and dominates the Australian market
- Now sold to Nasdaq-listed Clarus Corporation for $255 million
When Richard Cropley sold the roof over his head to start a roof rack business, he “put everything on the line” — and it certainly paid off.
The founder of Rhino-Rack, which manufactures and sells vehicle-mountable racks, pannier racks, bike racks and shade structures, has sold his company to Nasdaq-listed Clarus Corporation for $255 million.
Mr. Cropley, 64, founded the company in 1992 after growing tired of inferior equipment on the market.
The entrepreneur owned Roof Rack City, a small shop in Sydney, when he made the difficult decision to sell his home in Dulwich Hill inland and launch his own product line.
Richard Cropley, 64, (left) founded his Rhino-Racks company nearly three decades ago in 1992 after growing tired of inferior equipment
“I risked everything,” the entrepreneur told entrepreneur The financial overview.
Mr Cropley said the Rhino-Rack company’s naming was a quick split-second decision to get an ad in the Yellow Pages.
He said he had strategically chosen a name that would appear first in alphabetical lists, just ahead of the brand’s main rival, Rola.
Mr Cropley hoped customers who browse the phone book see Rhino-Rack first – a simple yet ingenious way to build his clientele.
Rhino-Racks – which operates from its headquarters in Eastern Creek in western Sydney and now has 250 employees – was approached by Toyota to supply roof racks for all of their work vehicles, and a contract with Telstra soon followed.
Mr. Cropley sold Rhino-Rack to Nasdaq-listed Clarus Corporation for $255 million nearly three decades after it was founded.
The company has now been sold to Clarus Corp. in Salt Lake City, Utah, for $194 million in cash and 2.3 million Clarus Corp stock.
Mr. Cropley could also receive an additional $10 million in cash, payable by Clarus Corp. at the end of July next year, as long as Rhino-Rack meets revenue targets.
The Covid-19 pandemic has also proved beneficial for the roof rack sector as Australians restricted themselves to domestic travel.
“From a sales perspective, Covid-19 has improved things, but we are also doing very well abroad,” he said.
Mr Cropley said about 70 percent of sales come from Australia, 20 percent from the United States and four percent from New Zealand, with interest from the German and Japanese markets growing rapidly.
All Rhino-Rack products are designed in Australia with production split between Australia and Asia.
Mr Cropley named the company Rhino-Rack to ensure it appeared in the Yellow Pages ahead of the brand’s main rival, Rola
Last year, the “Make Space for Adventure” theme achieved revenue of $115 million in just twelve months ending March 2021, with the company producing approximately 21.5 million net adjusted profits over the same period.
His company was described by John Walbrecht, president of Clarus Corp., as a “truly unique brand” with leading market positions that he aims to occupy in North America.
The humble entrepreneur will now become one of Clarus Corp’s top five shareholders, but says his success won’t change his simplistic approach to life.
He plans to buy another property near Orange in New South Wales, where the proceeds from the sale will be used to continue his research on legumes.
The Covid-19 pandemic has also proved beneficial for the roof rack sector as Australians were restricted from holidaying domestically
Rhino-Rack employs over 250 people and operates from a headquarters in Eastern Creek in Western Sydney