Oil giant Saudi Aramco has invested $14 million in one of the top drone service providers in the world, Terra Drone Corporation, through its early-stage investment fund Wa’ed Ventures. The Japan-based drone company says it will utilize the funding to set up a new subsidiary for inspection services in Saudi Arabia.
Aramco’s investment and Terra Drone’s new expansion plans are in line with the Saudi government’s “Vision 2030” reform plan, which seeks to stimulate economic transformation in the country by reducing its dependence on hydrocarbons. Technology is at the heart of this initiative, and the Saudi government is focusing its efforts to promote the use of drones in services such as asset inspections.
Wa’ed Ventures was formed in 2013 specifically to boost tech-based innovation in the region by investing in startups that can fill key gaps in the Saudi economy. It’s worth highlighting that this is the first time this venture capital arm of Aramco is investing in an Asian startup.
Terra Drone says that its new subsidiary will help to create new job opportunities in Saudi Arabia while accelerating the development of the drone industry in the Middle East. Here’s the company founder and CEO Toru Tokushige:
Terra Drone has been in business since 2016, the dawn of the drone era, with a mission to evolve the world from the sky. Six years later, we are approaching a future where drones and aerial vehicles will no longer be a novelty. We have built up a solid track record both domestically and internationally up to this point, and have grown to be recognized as the top drone service provider in the world. Aramco’s investment in Terra Drone through its VC arm Wa’ed Ventures is another example of global recognition for our achievements, which raises the expectations for our team as we continue to push forward and lead Terra Drone to the forefront of the global innovation track.
Fahad Alidi, managing director at Wa’ed Ventures, adds, “We foresee rapid adoption for UAM technology as an emerging tech vertical in the region, and Terra Drone is well-positioned to localize their innovation across the region.”