After over two years of continuous medical drone delivery operations across Africa, Australia’s Swoop Aero has completed a $16 million Series B funding round. But what’s even more impressive is that the logistics startup had the confidence to reject a $100 million takeover offer from a US-based defense company, halfway through the round.
The Series B round was led by Australian deep tech venture capital fund Main Sequence and joined by impact-focused fund Giant Leap as well as In-Q-Tel, a nonprofit strategic investor to the US national security community. And for the third time, Artesian Venture Capital and Folklore have reinvested in Swoop Aero.
“We’re thrilled to have the support of such exceptional VC funds as we expand our integrated logistics networks across the globe and look to scale these networks to stack and deliver services that will transform how the world moves,” Eric Peck, CEO of Swoop Aero, said in a statement.
But during an interview with an Australian daily, Peck explained that he was compelled to reject the takeover bid since he “didn’t build the technology just to do defense sales.” Peck told The Australian Financial Review:
I’ve been in military, so I’m not against it, but I wanted to do more.
When we made the decision to walk away, the staff were happy and the whole team trusted the decision.
Peck says the latest funding will enable the company to enter into new markets, scale its integrated logistics networks, and expand Australian manufacturing capabilities while progressing its impact-driven operations across Africa. A chunk of money will also go into scaling up the manufacturing of Swoop’s delivery drone, Kite, throughout 2022 and 2023.
The long-term vision of the company, however, is to unlock the skies above cities and touch the lives of a billion people through drone deliveries. Here’s Peck:
Drone logistics is about more than delivery; it’s about establishing a new infrastructure layer for society; an infrastructure layer that leverages the skies for the movement of goods and delivery of services in a way that hasn’t been possible in the past. Swoop Aero makes it possible today, and our goal is to scale that infrastructure layer country by country, so our integrated drone logistics service reaches 1 billion people by 2030.
To this end, Swoop Aero, together with the FAA and the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA), is undertaking a world-first joint drone certification project that will enable the seamless integration of drone technology across urban and rural environments.
Godspeed, Swoop Aero!