Wingcopter, a German startup, has raised $22 million in funding to strengthen its drone-based logistics platform focused on healthcare including distribution of COVID-19 vaccines.
The financing was led by Xplorer Capital and Futury Regio Growth Fund as well as Futury Ventures and Hessen Kapital III.
Currently, Wingcopter’s 178 Heavy Lift drone provides both one- and two-way delivery, covering distances of up to 74 miles. The drones come equipped with a winch mechanism to lower a package or can land at different destinations and return to its origin to resupply or recharge. Additionally, Wingcopter plans to launch its next generation aircraft in the future.
The company said the financing will also help it expand its drone delivery-as-a-service offerings, allowing users to rent the drones, which Wingcopter believes will save companies money by not having to own and maintain a fleet of drones, hire and train pilots and run operations.
A portion of the new funding will be allocated to partially automated serial production at Wingcopter’s headquarters in Weiterstadt, Germany to meet current and future demand. The company will also expand its workforce to include flight testing, certification, production and software development, particularly control software, embedded systems, software architecture and cloud infrastructure.
“This chapter of our journey is dedicated to setting up logistical highways in the sky that leapfrog traditional means of transportation,” said Tom Plümmer, CEO of Wingcopter. “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.”
In the African country of Malawi, Wingcopter recently started a long-term COVID-19 project to improve healthcare supply chains. Wingcopter partnered with UNICEF’s African Drone and Data Academy to train local youth in drone operations including piloting beyond the visual line of sight (BVLOS) delivery and surveying flights.