Wingcopter receives funding from Japan’s Drone Fund
Japan’s Drone Fund III has made an undisclosed investment in Wingcopter, the company said on Wednesday.
Drone Fund III is the third fund of Drone Fund, a venture capital firm specializing in startups related to drones and air mobility. Wingcopter said this was the fund’s first investment in an electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) company.
“This investment comes as we step up our efforts in the Japanese market. We are confident that the Drone Fund team will open doors, allowing us to offer drone delivery services to more customers in Japan and beyond. It also makes us very proud to be the only eVTOL drone company in their portfolio of around 50 investments. I think this investment is a testament to the fact that the Wingcopter 198 is truly at the forefront of delivery drone technology, ”Wingcopter CEO Tom Plümmer said in a statement.
Plümmer noted that Wingcopter is in advanced talks with investors on a Series B funding round. The German firm’s latest funding came via a $ 22 million Series A round announced in January. Current investors include Xplorer Capital, Futury Capital, Expa, Hessen Kapital III and Corecam Capital Partners.
Watch: Bill Wimberley, Wingcopter Business Development Manager
“We have seen the airline logistics network in Japan develop at an accelerated rate with the lifting of the ban on level 3 flights in 2021,” said Kotaro Chiba, founder and managing partner of Drone Fund. “Wingcopter is one of the world’s most trusted and advanced eVTOL hardware, software and AI providers, with a successful track record in Japan. We are honored to be able to invest in such a great team. We look forward to working with the Wingcopter team to help develop drone logistics in Japan and abroad.
Wingcopter has an agreement to build a drone delivery network for the Japanese airline ANA, with trials already underway. The company is also expected to soon announce a strategic agreement with a large sogo shosha (Japanese general trading company) under Wingcopter’s Authorized Partner Program (WAPP).
Sogo Shosha will act as the local distributor and supplier of technical support for Wingcopter’s Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS), Wingcopter 198, in Japan. WAPP is Wingcopter’s global network of strategic partners and includes drone operators, dealers and agents who are trained and licensed to operate, promote and distribute the Triple Delivery Drone.
Read: Wingcopter launches triple-drop delivery drone
Read: Drone maker Wingcopter gets $ 22 million, plans to expand COVID-19 delivery pilots
The Wingcopter 198, first announced in April, offers the ability to make three separate deliveries on a single flight. According to the Wingcopter website, the 198 drone has achieved autonomous flight level 4. At this level, human interaction is rarely required, but there is always a bypass option in the event of a system failure. Thanks to geofencing and the drone’s control station software, the drone system optimizes the workflow of the logistics provider at the controls.
According to the drone datasheet, the drone is loaded on the ground and can deliver on the ground or in the air with a slow release. The Wingcopter operations management system can operate up to 10 drones at a time, allowing a logistics commander to manage up to 30 different packages.
The Wingcopter 198 carries two smart batteries that can maximize the time of the drone in the air and allow rapid exchanges on the ground. Depending on the weight of the shipment, drones can travel up to 59 miles in an hour with these batteries and fully recharge in 90 minutes, according to the datasheet.
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