Wingcopter’s 40 million reasons to smile
German drone logistics company Wingcopter’s mission to deliver medical supplies to needy remote parts of the world as well as other small packages has just received 40 million reasons to smile.
This follows the announcement that the European Investment Bank (EIB) will provide a €40 million quasi-equity investment into Wingcopter; money which will be injected into the company’s small scale commercial and humanitarian projects.
One of those projects is in Malawi, where Wingcoper’s drones – working jointly UNICEF and Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH – have successfully delivered life-saving medicines and medical supplies to rural communities in hard-to-reach areas since 2018.
The EIB is the long-term lending institution of the European Union owned by its member states, which avails funds projects that contribute to the EU’s long terms goals.
The EIB’s activities focus on priority areas that include climate and environment; development; innovation and skills; small and medium-sized businesses; infrastructure and cohesion.
The investment into Wingcopter is backed by the European Commission’s InvestEU programme under its sustainable infrastructure window. Because using electric cargo drones, like Wingcopter does, to deliver urgently needed goods can replace carbon-intensive modes of transport such as motorcycles, vans and helicopters, thereby contributing to the transition towards a green and sustainable economy.
“Europe is currently the global leader in cleantech, and we must work hard to maintain this lead EIB Vice-President Ambroise Fayolle, who is responsible for activities in Germany, said.
“Backing European cleantech pioneers with global reach like Wingcopter is central to our mission. Electric cargo drones are an important vertical segment for a future of sustainable transport and logistics.
“This investment underlines our commitment to supporting entrepreneurs growing and building advanced green technology businesses in the European Union, strengthening our technological competitiveness, creating highly skilled jobs and opening up new markets, while preserving nature. We are proud to be supporting this European success story.”
Wingcopter’s latest drone model, the Wingcopter 198, is expected to make its inaugural bow in Germany this summer when Wingcopter launches a pilot project in southern Hesse to test the potential of on-demand transport of groceries and other consumer goods.
“The project’s goal is to improve local supply in rural German communities through a sustainable delivery service and will be conducted together with the Frankfurt University of Applied Sciences,” said Wingcopter in a statement.
“Already running on pure battery power, the Wingcopter team, together with Hamburg-based ZAL Center of Applied Aeronautical Research GmbH, is currently developing a green hydrogen energy system to power Wingcopter’s drones for even longer flight times.”
The EIB’s investment joins a strong international group of investors, including leading European retailer REWE Group, Japanese Fortune 100 conglomerate ITOCHU, Silicon Valley-based Xplorer Capital and Uber co-founder Garrett Camp’s investment arm Expa.
Wingcopter says these investments it to extend the capabilities of its flagship drone, obtain regulatory approval in key markets and deploy its drones at scale in sustainable last-mile delivery networks to become a global logistics services provider across multiple sectors.
“We would like to thank the European Investment Bank for their trust in us and their support as we strive to become a global leader in the drone-based delivery of urgently needed goods, from medical supplies to groceries,” said Wingcopter co-founder and CEO Tom Plümmer.
“Our goal is also to improve lives by creating many jobs — in R&D and manufacturing at our headquarters in Europe, as well as in the countries where we provide services, where we train and qualify local young people to operate our drone delivery networks. It requires strong partners like the EIB to build reliable, efficient and safe delivery drone technology and logistics services.”