Wingcopter, an eVTOL manufacturer and drone delivery service provider based out of Germany, has finally roped in ITOCHU, one of the largest general trading companies (sogo shosha) in Japan, as a strategic investor and authorized partner. Wingcopter first hinted at this partnership in December 2021, when it announced an investment from Drone Fund, a Japan-based venture capital firm dedicated exclusively to the drone technology ecosystem.
As part of the agreement, ITOCHU joins Wingcopter’s Authorized Partnership Program (WAPP) and will act as a dedicated distributor and lessor for the Wingcopter 198 triple-drop delivery drone in Japan. The Japanese conglomerate will also invest an undisclosed amount in the German company.
It’s no secret that Wingcopter sees Japan as one of the most important markets for drone delivery applications “given the country’s progressive approach to integrating drones into everyday life.” In 2020, the company signed a partnership agreement with Japan’s biggest airline, ANA, to build a drone delivery network focusing on rural areas. Extensive trials have already taken place for that project as well.
This new partnership with ITOCHU will further strengthen Wingcopter’s expansion in Japan. Tom Plümmer, cofounder and CEO of Wingcopter, explains:
We expect Japan to become one of the most important regions for drone delivery applications in the upcoming years. Therefore, we are convinced that ITOCHU, with the network and expertise in a huge variety of business sectors as well as the financial power of a Fortune Global 500 company, will help us serve more Japanese customers and allow us to jointly scale Wingcopter’s operations across Japan.
Takanori Morita, executive officer of ITOCHU and CEO of ITOCHU Europe Plc, through which ITOCHU has made the investment in Wingcopter, adds:
Drone delivery has the potential to revolutionize how we transport goods, and it can immediately improve the quality of life for many people across the globe. We believe Wingcopter is best positioned to become the market leader in this field with its superb product as well as a capable and dedicated team.