London-based Dronamics , a freight drone airline with a European operating authorisation, announced on Friday that it has raised $40M (approximately €37.61M) in a pre-Series A round of funding.
The investment came from Founders Factory, Speedinvest, Eleven Capital, and the Strategic Development Fund (SDF), the financial arm of the Tawazun Council in Abu Dhabi, UAE.
The funding comes on top of a €2.5M grant from the European Commission through its European Innovation Council (EIC) Accelerator programme, as well as the EIC’s material promise to back Dronamics’ Series A round with another €12.5M in equity investment.
Everything to know about the World’s first cargo drone airline
Founded in 2014 by Konstantin Rangelov and Svilen Rangelov, Dronamics is a cargo drone airline that develops and operates large, long-range drones. The company is democratising airfreight for millions of people by making it more efficient, affordable and accessible.
Its flagship Black Swan can transport 350 kg (770 lb) at a distance of up to 2,500 km (1,550 mi), up to 80 per cent faster, 50 per cent less expensive, and with up to 60 per cent fewer emissions than alternative modes of transportation, including air freight.
This will allow same-day delivery over long distances for a wide range of sectors, from pharmaceutical to food, and e-commerce to spare components. Dronamics is the first authorised freight drone airline in Europe and the first Global Strategic Partner for drones for IATA.
Speaking about its droneport network, the company says, “The network operation is powered by our fully mobile droneport cargo equipment, as well as our autonomous and semi-autonomous remote fleet control system with worldwide coverage.”
This means that Dronamics can reach where traditional aircraft cannot go, allowing for easy integration into any business’ supply chain. And, by eliminating the need for local warehousing, there is a drastic reduction in time, cost and emissions.
Dronamics claims that droneports can be established in abandoned airfields, airports, seaports, logistical centres, and industrial locations with minimal infrastructure.
All that is needed are concrete or unpaved airstrips longer than 400 metres in length to link communities and businesses that have previously lacked access to low-cost same-day transport and service on underutilised paths.
How is SDF supporting Dronamics?
Strategic Development Fund is focused on financial return and economic effect within the UAE. It does that through stock investments in local and foreign collaborations.
The investment by SDF’s venture capital division in Dronamics funding is a move towards the formation of a UAE-based joint venture that will increase Dronamics’ capacity and support the future establishment of the company’s activities in the UAE as one of the region’s major hubs.
SDF will also become a major participant in the UAE-based joint venture by establishing a production and operations JV, and investing significantly more.
Abdulla Naser Al Jaabari, MD and CEO of SDF, says, “SDF looks at investing in aerospace and mobility companies that can improve the movement of humans and cargo autonomously in a sustainable and cost-effective manner.”
“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,” adds Al Jaabari.