In mid-May, Wingcopter announced an extremely ambitious plan to deploy some 12,000 of its fixed-wing UAVs in Sub-Saharan Africa over the next half decade. As far as drone delivery markets go, it certainly makes sense, targeting users in remote areas that can often be hard to reach due to infrastructural issues.
Such a project will take a lot of resources, of course, but thankfully, the German startup just announced a $42 million funding round. The Series A extension brings Wingcopter’s raise above $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 large 198 system to do more than the medical supply delivery it’s been thus far focused on, though specifics of such a deployment have yet to be announced. In addition to eyeing Africa and Europe, Wingcopter’s system was recently approved by the FAA, as it looks toward the U.S. for its rapidly expanding footprint.
In the near term, funding will go toward increasing the company’s head count by 80, in addition to building out new features for the drone.
“At Wingcopter, we create efficient and sustainable drone solutions to save and improve lives. For this, we are hiring passionate pioneers who build what has not existed before,” cofounder and CEO Tom Plümmer said in a release. “The new funding, combined with growing revenue, puts us in an excellent position to roll out our industry-leading drone delivery solution with our customers around the globe.”
The news comes as larger companies, including Amazon and Alphabet-owned Wing, are quickly expanding their delivery trials.