Europe’s first licensed drone delivery airline, Dronamics, said it has raised $40 million in pre-Series A funding for the launch of its innovative strategy of providing middle-mile aerial transport services in a sector that has largely focused on last-mile activities.
Dronamics announced on Friday it had raised a total of $40 million for its middle-mile drone delivery business from capital funds and angel investors from 12 countries, in advance of its upcoming Series A round. That does not include $2.7 the company had been accorded in November by the European Commission under its European Innovation Council (EIC) Accelerator advanced tech support program. The EIC also committed to getting in on some of the company’s action with a future $13.45 million equity investment.
Read more: Dronamics’ $2.6M EU grant precedes Series A round to fuel middle-mile drone delivery launch
Building that war chest ahead of its Series A round aims to provide Dronamics with enough financial momentum to begin production of its automated delivery drones, and launch middle-mile transport services for businesses and public administrations.
Dronamics’ Black Swan drones are designed for middle-mile clients who currently have to wait days or even weeks for delivery by road transport. Those UAVs can carry maximum payloads of 770 pounds over ranges of 1,550 miles at top altitudes of 2,000 feet, and at full speeds of 125 mph.
The company has already signed business deals with freight companies like DHL. It has also formed partnerships with state organizations like Scotland’s health care system, which is building what it calls the world’s first nationwide drone delivery network to transport medical supplies between facilities.
Read more: Dronamics joins Scotland’s national medical drone delivery network
In addition to filling its coffers with further development funding, the new influx will expand the company’s operational focus as well. Among new investors is the Strategic Development Fund (SDF), the investment arm of the Abu Dhabi’s Tawazun Council.
As part of that, the deal calls for the creation of a United Arab Emirates-based joint venture that will facilitate a broadening of Dronamics’ initial European focus to the Gulf region. The accord stipulates the company will establish a hub in the United Arab Emirates for use in operating UAV deliveries across the Middle East and North Africa region.
SDF will provide additional financing to become a main partner in that joint venture, which will oversee both drone manufacturing and Dronamics’ middle-mile delivery services in the scheme.
“SDF looks at investing in aerospace and mobility companies that can improve movement of humans and cargo autonomously in a sustainable and cost effective manner,” said Abdulla Naser Al Jaabari, CEO of SDF. “When it comes to Dronamics, their economics are very promising and potential users of Dronamics would benefit from quick and efficient cargo deliveries. As one of Dronamics’ latest strategic investors, SDF will be working closely to support the ongoing growth of the company through the UAE and globally.”
Dronamics CEO Svilen Rangelov said the support of all its new investors served as “a strong validation of our goal to bring our cargo drone solution to more people and businesses around the world.” The arrival of SDF, meanwhile, proved the viability of its last-mile drone delivery strategy beyond the company’s initial European focus.
“Their confidence in Dronamics confirms the strength of our business model, and we are excited to continue growing and achieving success with the support of our investment partners,” Rangelov said.