In mid-May, Wingcopter announced an extremely ambitious plan to deploy approximately 12,000 of its fixed-wing UAVs in sub-Saharan Africa over the next half-decade. It certainly makes sense as far as the drone delivery markets go, targeting users in remote areas that can often be difficult due to infrastructure issues.
A project like this would certainly take a lot of resources, but thankfully, the German startup just announced a $42 million funding round. The Series A extension brings Wingcopter’s increase to over $60 million to date. It was led by German retail firm REWE Group and Salvia and XAI Technologies.
REWE is the most interesting investor here. The company operates more than 12,000 grocery stores in Europe, and such a deal points to interesting uses for Wingcopter’s larger 198 system, which has focused thus far to do more than medical supply distribution, although this has not been the case. The specifics of such deployment are yet to be announced . In addition to keeping an eye on Africa and Europe, the Wingcopter’s system was recently approved by the FAA, as it looks to the US for a rapidly expanding footprint.
In the near future, in addition to building new facilities for drones, the funding will go toward increasing the company’s head count to 80.
“At Wingcopter, we create efficient and sustainable drone solutions to save and improve lives. For this, we are hiring passionate pioneers who don’t already exist,” said cofounder and CEO Tom Plummer in a release. “The new funding, coupled with rising revenues, places us in an excellent position to roll out our industry-leading drone delivery solution with our customers around the world.”
The news comes as big companies, including Amazon and Alphabet-owned Wing, are rapidly expanding their distribution trials.