Start-up of the month for Frankfurt Rhine-Main? Wingcopter

At this juncture, Wingcopter can do no wrong, and there seems to be no limit to the Darmstadt-based drone delivery company’s meteoric growth.

Only this year, they won the #SmartDevelopment Hackathon, which enabled to them to expand their operations in collaboration in with the United Nations Children’s emergency Fund (UNICEF) in the Southern African nation of Malawi. Before that they had won twice at the inaugural Lake Kivu Challenge for delivery drones in Rwanda. Then they were named among 100 others as the start-ups in the world by the World Economic Forum.

Recognition had come from closer to home this time around, with German B2B aggregator Frankfurt Forward identifying Wingcopter as the Start of the Month in August in the country’s Frankfurt Rhine-Main metropolitan area.

“In its State-of-the-Art technology, the start-up combines the best of two drones in one and improves people’s lives worldwide,” said Frankfurt Forward in a statement. “In addition to medical goods and packages, the team supplies food in particular to hard-to-reach places.”

The company then sat down with Wingcopter CEO, Tom Plummer for the following interview.

Who are you, what have you done so far and how did Wingcopter come to be founded?

My name is Tom Plümmer, I am co-founder and CEO of Wingcopter and studied media management at the Media Campus Dieburg at Darmstadt University of Applied Sciences. After a long stay in Ghana, during which I experienced first-hand the cost of poorly developed healthcare supply chains on the everyday life of many people, I wanted to do something. Having already had experience with drones in film and photography, I came up with the idea of using drones to deliver in-demand medicines. Through a mutual acquaintance, I was recommended to Jonathan Hesselbarth (Wingcoper Chief Technology Officer), who had been tinkering with a drone for some time, which could take off and land vertically as well as travel long distances quickly. That was exactly what I was looking for. Together we managed to develop a promising product with high demand from the prototype, and in 2017 we finally officially founded Wingcopter GmbH.

Wingcopter founding team; from left Jonathan Hesselbarth, Tom Plümmer and Ansgar Kadura

Your business model in 3 sentences – what do we need to know?

We develop and produce unmanned aerial systems and are committed to improving the lives of people worldwide through meaningful commercial and humanitarian applications. At the moment, we are concentrating on the delivery of medical goods as well as on the delivery of parcels and food. We sell and rent our wingcopters to customers all over the world, but also take over the complete operations for customer projects on request.

What lesson learned would you like to give to other founders?

Think carefully about when is the right time to get investors on board. We could have borrowed foreign money much earlier, but fortunately we did not do so in retrospect. When I look at how many percentages many investors demanded at that time for comparatively small amounts, it shakes me. Of course, this luxury can only be afforded if the company generates sales from the very beginning.

Please complete the following sentence: Frankfurt Rhine-Main is for me….

… my homeland and a region with great potential, which unfortunately does not yet fully exploit it – but we are convinced that we can make it here and grow together.

Please give us a recommendation for a blog /news page / a trade magazine / a book that inspires you (on subject topics)?

I like to listen to the podcast “The Twenty Minute VC” by Harry Stebbings. He always has exciting guests and you learn a lot about the start-up world.

Which expert would you like to work with for one day and why?

I would love to spend a day with Elon Musk to see how he structures his work and runs his businesses – and, most importantly, to introduce him to one or two ideas.

What else would you like to tell readers?

We are growing rapidly and are looking for committed competitors for almost all divisions of the company who want to make the world a little better every day with the help of our technology. We have advertised for a number of positions are, but we are also always happy to receive unsolicited applications, regardless of which divisions in the company.

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