Wingcopter raises $22M to advance technology leadership in drone delivery, announces serial production
Weiterstadt, 25 January, 2021 – Wingcopter, the German developer, manufacturer and operator of unmanned delivery drones for commercial and humanitarian applications, has secured $22 million in Series A funding. Wingcopter will use the funds to strengthen its leadership in drone-based logistics, with a special focus on healthcare-related applications, including the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines. At the same time, Wingcopter is well-positioned and ready to establish more partnerships worldwide centering around other fully automated delivery applications.
The 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 participated in this financing round.
The current model, the Wingcopter 178 Heavy Lift, provides both one- and two-way delivery, covering distances of up to 120 kilometers. 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. To further expand its market reach, Wingcopter is pressing ahead at full speed to launch the next generation of its aircraft, a game-changing delivery drone with unmatched technical specifications. Pre-orders can already be placed.
In addition to selling drones, Wingcopter will rapidly expand its drone-delivery-as-a-service offerings. These services give customers the opportunity to instantly benefit from Wingcopter’s cutting-edge technology and its BVLOS (beyond visual line of sight) flight operations track record on five continents without having to own and maintain a fleet of drones, hire and train pilots, or run operations themselves.
A portion of the new capital is 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 meter (77,500 square feet) site allows for a swift ramp up to mass production to meet a constantly growing global demand. To achieve this, Wingcopter combines the scaling methods of the automotive industry with an aviation-grade discipline for quality and safety.
Wingcopter plans to further grow the team in the fields of flight testing, certification, production (including a new U.S. facility), and software development, specifically focused on ground and flight control software, embedded systems, software architecture, and cloud infrastructure.
Tom Plümmer, CEO of Wingcopter, comments: “Our team is driven by tackling the world’s challenges through scalable innovations. 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.”
“We have been impressed with the Wingcopter team and the speed at which they have developed the product and built the company. We look forward to watching and supporting them as they help to deliver vaccines in the near-term, and to deliver freight in a more sustainable way over the long-term”, explains Jonathan McQueen, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Xplorer Capital.
“The Wingcopter team combines entrepreneurial spirit with superior technology know-how and looks back on an impressive number of worldwide drone projects. This is what it takes to conquer a rapidly growing market such as the international drone market. We are excited to support Wingcopter on its flight towards becoming a global leader in the international drone business and look forward to working together with the team and founders”, says Benjamin Krahmer, Managing Director of Futury Regio Growth Fund and Futury Ventures.
In Malawi, Wingcopter recently started a long-term COVID-19 response project named Drone + Data Aid to improve healthcare supply chains together with Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). As part of the undertaking, Wingcopter has partnered with UNICEF’S African Drone and Data Academy to train local youth in drone operations, from mission planning to piloting beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) delivery and surveying flights.
In 2020, Wingcopter was named a Technology Pioneer by the World Economic Forum, recognizing its significant social impact as part of the fourth industrial revolution.
Wingcopter is an award-winning German manufacturer of unmanned eVTOL fixed-wing aircraft dedicated to improving the lives of people worldwide through meaningful commercial and humanitarian applications. The start-up focuses on the delivery of medical goods as well as parcels and food.
With their unique, patented tilt-rotor mechanism, the electrically powered Wingcopters far exceed the range and payload capabilities of commercial multicopter drones. Taking off and landing vertically like multicopters, Wingcopters fly long distances as efficiently and quickly as fixed-wing aircraft, reaching ranges of up to 75 miles (120 kilometers) and a Guinness world record speed of 150 mph (240 km/h). Even in strong winds of up to 44 mph (70 km/h) or inclement weather, Wingcopters fly autonomously and reliably.
In 2020, Wingcopter was named a Technology Pioneer by the World Economic Forum. Wingcopter’s investors include Xplorer Capital, Futury Regio Growth Fund, Futury Ventures, Hessen Kapital III, and Corecam Capital Partners.
About Xplorer Capital
Xplorer Capital is an early-stage venture capital firm that invests in talented entrepreneurs and disruptive technologies that transform industries on a global scale. Our portfolio companies drive advancements in AI, robotics, and automation to improve industries such as logistics, manufacturing, agriculture, sustainability, and corporate productivity. https://xplorer.vc/
About Futury Regio Growth Fund
The Futury Regio Growth Fund supports exceptional founders building exceptional companies by investing in future growth. We invest in promising, fast-growing technology companies in later phases with the goal to create global leaders. We invest in international companies that want to expand into Germany and help them to accelerate their global growth from Hesse. In addition, we help German companies with a connection to Hesse to develop national and international growth strategies. We support them with capital, know-how and network and are active shareholders. Together with the founders, we pursue one goal: the development of global top companies. https://www.frgf.vc/en
About Futury Venture Fund
The Futury Venture Fund was launched in 2018 as a cooperation between experienced institutional and private investors and the State of Hesse. We offer young companies a unique basis for the development of their businesses. We prefer the late seed phase up to early Series A rounds with companies that have so far avoided large external financing. In addition to the capital, the founders benefit above all from our many years of experience and a first-class network of personalities from business and politics. This network generates synergies and results, for example, in access to potential customers or strategic support in the development of markets. https://www.futuryvc.de/en
About Hessen Kapital III
Hessen Kapital III is one of several funds managed by BMH Beteiligungs-Managementgesellschaft Hessen mbH (“BM H”). As subsidiary of Landesbank Hessen-Thüringen, BM H is actively involved in the economic development activities in the State of Hesse and responsible for public equity funding. BM H managed funds currently support c. 230 companies.