Dronamics raises $40mn in pre-series A funding for world's first cargo drone airline

Dronamics raises $40mn in pre-series A funding for world's first cargo drone airline
Dronamics' flagship drone, the Black Swan, can transport up to 350 kg over a distance of up to 2,500 km. / Dronamics
By bne IntelliNews February 18, 2023

Dronamics, the world's first cargo drone airline with a license to operate in Europe, announced on February 17 that it raised $40mn in pre-series A funding from venture capital funds and angel investors from 12 countries. 

The company is approaching its series A round, and the funding will enable it to accelerate its growth and expand its operations.

The $40mn funding round includes contributions from investors including Founders Factory, Speedinvest, and Eleven Capital. Most recently, the Strategic Development Fund (SDF), the investment arm of the Tawazun Council in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, also contributed to the round.

“The investment from SDF, Founders Factory, Speedinvest and Eleven Capital is a strong validation of our goal to bring our cargo drone solution to more people and businesses around the world. 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,” Svilen Rangelov, co-founder and CEO of Dronamics, said in a press released issued by the company. 

The investment made by SDF's venture capital division in Dronamics' funding is a move towards the formation of a joint venture based in the UAE. This collaboration aims to bolster Dronamics' capabilities and facilitate the company's expansion in the UAE, as a hub for the Middle East and North Africa region. SDF will become a major partner in the joint venture through the establishment of a manufacturing and operations joint venture, and will make further substantial investments.

“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. 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,” said Abdulla Naser Al Jaabari, managing director and CEO of SDF. 

Demand for cargo drones is increasing in the logistics industry, both lightweight drones for first and last mile deliveries and larger cargo drones for longer-distance operations. 

Dronamics is a the world’s first cargo drone airline, and a developer and operator of large, long-range drones specifically designed for carrying cargo. 

The company’s flagship drone, the Black Swan, can transport up to 350 kg over a distance of up to 2,500 km, 80% faster, 50% cheaper, and with up to 60% fewer emissions than other transportation methods, including airfreight, the company said. 

This facilitates same-day delivery over long distances for a wide range of industries, including pharmaceuticals, food, e-commerce and spare parts. 

Dronamics announced in May 2022 it had become the first company in the EU to obtain a Light UAS Operator Certificate (LUC) for middle-mile cargo operations

It obtained the licence from the Transport Malta Civil Aviation Directorate (TM-CAD), allowing operations in accordance with European regulation. The LUC is recognised in all EU member states and provides drone operators with significant business opportunities across the single market, the company said.

It is also the first strategic partner for drones worldwide recognised by the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

In November, Dronamics received a grant of €2.5mn from the European Commission as part of the selective deep-tech European Innovation Council (EIC) Accelerator program. The EIC has pledged to support Dronamics' Series A round with a further €12.5mn in equity investment.