Wingcopter gets $22m funding to expand operations
Weiterstadt, GERMANY – Wingcopter just got loaded.
The German delivery and humanitarian drone maker has secured a $22million investment, which will be injected into furthering the development of drone-based logistics, with special focus on healthcare-related applications, including the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines.
The latest financing round was led by Silicon Valley-based Xplorer Capital, a key investor in autonomous technologies, and Futury Regio Growth Fund, a Germany-based growth capital fund focusing on investments in globally scalable business models. In addition, Futury Ventures and Hessen Kapital III also participated in this financing round.
In a statement, Wingcopter revealed that part of the new capital will be allocated to setting up a partially automated serial production at Wingcopter’s new headquarters in Weiterstadt, Germany, already home to more than 100 employees. The 7,200 square metre site allows for mass production to meet the growing global demand for delivery drones.
In addition to selling drones, Wingcopter will also use the funds to rapidly expand its drone-delivery-as-a-service offerings, giving clients the opportunity to instantly benefit from Wingcopter’s cutting-edge technology and its beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) flight operations without having to own and maintain a fleet of drones, hire and train pilots, or run operations themselves.
Wingcopter plans to further grow the team in the fields of flight testing, certification, production, and software development, specifically focused on ground and flight control software, embedded systems, software architecture, and cloud infrastructure.
“Our team is driven by tackling the world’s challenges through scalable innovations,” said Wingcopter CEO, Tom Plümmer. “This chapter of our journey is dedicated to setting up logistical highways in the sky that leapfrog traditional means of transportation. Poor infrastructure has always been a barrier, especially for healthcare provision, impacting billions of lives – a situation further exacerbated by COVID-19.
“With the support and powerful networks of our investors we are taking a huge step closer to fulfilling our vision of creating efficient and sustainable drone solutions that improve and save lives everywhere.”
Wingcopter has just started a long-term COVID-19 response project named Drone+Data Aid in Malawi, to improve healthcare supply chains. As part of the undertaking, the company will be working with the German Corporation for International Cooperation (GIZ) and the African Drone and Data Academy (ADDA) to train local youth in drone operations, from mission planning to piloting beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) delivery and surveying flights.
Their latest drone model, the Wingcopter 178 Heavy Lift, provides both one- and two-way delivery, covering distances of up to 120 kilometres. It can accurately lower a package through a winch mechanism, or land at the point of destination and return to its origin with new payload.
The company – which is set to open offices in the USA soon – is also pressing ahead at full speed to launch the next generation of its aircraft, which it touts as “a game-changing delivery drone with unmatched technical specifications.”