German delivery drone manufacturer Wingcopter has raised US$42m as part of a Series A extension round, taking the total equity raised to date to more than US$60m.
Leading German retailer REWE Group as well as German investors Salvia and XAI technologies came on board as new shareholders. They were joined by Japanese conglomerate Itochu and previous backers Futury Capital, based in Frankfurt, Germany, and Xplorer Capital, based in Silicon Valley.
As one of Germany’s largest grocery retailers with 12,000 stores across Europe, REWE Group is an ideal addition to Wingcopter’s investor base and a clear sign that Wingcopter’s future will expand beyond medical drone delivery services. Salvia, with an investment focus on disruptive technologies, is known for its early investment in German biotech champion BioNTech and will actively support Wingcopter’s growth path. XAI technologies, founded by machine vision pioneer Enis Ersü, will add additional value thanks to the team’s deep knowledge and experience in the fields of sensor technology and industrial automation. Listed in the Fortune Global 500 index, Itochu is one of Japan’s largest trading companies and will open new doors to the promising Japanese market.
With the fresh funding, Wingcopter will be able to further expand its drone delivery services globally and ramp up production of its eVTOL delivery drone, the Wingcopter 198.
Wingcopter has been experiencing a continuously growing demand for its new unmanned aircraft system and has already sold most production slots for this and next year. Its production facility in Germany is designed to manufacture thousands of Wingcopter drones per year and will soon start with partly automated production work, significantly speeding up the production process.
Wingcopter plans to use the capital injection to accelerate the firm’s R&D efforts regarding new product features and hire 80 new employees across all departments within the coming months. The new capital raise comes shortly after the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) had approved the Airworthiness Criteria for the Wingcopter 198.
Tom Plümmer, Co-founder and CEO of Wingcopter, said, “At Wingcopter, we create efficient and sustainable drone solutions to save and improve lives. For this, we are hiring passionate pioneers with whom we build what has not existed before. The new funding, combined with growing revenues, puts us in an excellent position to establish our industry-leading drone delivery solution with our customers around the globe to optimize supply chains.”
Christoph Eltze, executive board member digital, customer and analytics and IT at REWE Group, added, “REWE Group is one of the most innovative companies in German retail. For years, we have relied on strong partnerships with innovation leaders, especially in emerging trends. With Wingcopter, we have found such a new partner.”
Helmut Jeggle, founder and managing partner of Salvia, said, “With its disruptive technology and highly motivated team, Wingcopter has the potential to become a frontrunner in the drone delivery space. In the face of global challenges such as climate change, innovative companies such as Wingcopter are needed to lead an industry like logistics into a sustainable, more efficient future. We are pleased to accompany this success story from now on as an investor and sparring partner.”
Wingcopter recently partnered with Continental Drones with the aim of deploying 12,000 drones over the coming years to deliver goods throughout sub-Saharan Africa by building a new layer of infrastructure in the sky.