The German company is designing next-gen drones for the logistics industry that can carry and deliver heavy packages. Now, it has raised $22 million in Series A funding, TechCrunch reports.
It is the first significant investment in the firm from venture capitalists and is a significant milestone. Wingcopter will reportedly use the cash injection to continue developing its drones while also breaking into the U.S. market.
The round was led by Silicon Valley VC Xplorer Capital and Germany’s Futury Regio Growth.
The story behind Wingcopter is inspiring. It was founded by a group of college students who clawed together the necessary funding to get it off the ground. From there, TechCrunch reports, the startup has bootstrapped funding to stay afloat.
While that was fine in the early stages, more significant financial support is needed for any startup that wants to make a big impact. That’s certainly what Wingcopter has in mind.
The company is currently working on its flagship craft, the Wingcopter 178. It is a fixed-wing drone that takes off vertically. However, it’s proprietary tilt-rotor propellant mechanism is where the drone shines. After taking off, the propellor rotates to give the drone more longevity and power for long-distance flights. It can reach speeds of 100 mph and travel up to 75 miles in one flight.
Since the moment news of Wingcopter’s tech hit the internet, companies have been vying to purchase the next-gen drones. The startup is also operating its drones in a number of impactful partnerships around the globe.
In Tanzania, the Wingcopter 178 is helping deliver medical supplies to aid workers in remote locations. Meanwhile, in Ireland, it became the first company to deliver insulin with a drone that traveled out of an operator’s line of sight.
Drones as a Service
Many startups today ask whether they can turn their product into a service. While Wingcopter got its start by making drones and selling them to customers, the company is now pursuing a different model.
Wingcopter offers its drones as a service for other companies that want to use them for deliveries. The startup’s experience with designing its proprietary drone up until this point is helping it excel.
Founder Tom Plümmer told TechCrunch, “We learned during this process, through applying for permissions and working now in five continents in multiple countries, flying BVLOS (beyond visual line of sight), that actually operating drones is something we are now very good at.”
In fact, it has turned into a profitable revenue stream for Wingcopter. Plümmer notes that the startup’s service model currently accounts for half of its total revenue.
Despite its success in the subscription game, Wingcopter doesn’t intend to stop manufacturing and selling its drones. The company’s recent cash injection will help it continue to scale its operations.
It will also try to break into the U.S. market. Wingcopter is eyeing both the budding drone delivery space as well as areas like communication and inspection. In the meantime, the startup is already discussing a Series B round to keep its momentum going.