German drone developer Wingcopter has received an investment from Japanese venture capital company Drone Fund, which specializes in startups related to drones and air mobility.
The injection, which will come from a third fund amounting to US$90 million raised by the Japan-based VC, comes in the run-up of Wingcopter’s Series B investment round. This would be Drone Fund’s first investment in drone technology and first partnership with a German company.
Last year, Wingcopter signed a partnership agreement with Japan’s ANA to establish a drone delivery network in rural areas across the country, with extensive trials already taking place in the past months.
Wingcopter sees Japan as an attractive market as the country is very progressive with respect to the integration of drones into everyday life. In 2017, the Japanese government created a national commercial drone roadmap, the so-called Roadmap for the Application and Technology Development of UAVs in Japan, and has continuously adapted it ever since.
Tom Plümmer, CEO of Wingcopter, sees great portential for the Wingcopter 198 in Japan, particularly in serving deliveries to remote areas. The cargo drone can accomodate payload of up to 6 kilos with a range of 110 kilometres.
“We are convinced that the DRONE FUND team will open doors, allowing us to bring drone delivery services to more customers in Japan and beyond,” says Plümmer. “It also makes us really proud that we are the only eVTOL drone company in their portfolio of about 50 investments.”
Kotaro Chiba, founder and managing partner of Drone Fund, believes the air logistics network in Japan is developing at an accelerated pace givenh the lifting of the ban on Level 3 flights in 2021.
“Wingcopter is one of the most reliable and cutting-edge eVTOL hardware, software and AI providers in the world, with successful experience in Japan… We look forward to working with the team to contribute to the development of drone logistics in Japan and abroad,” he added.