The European Investment Bank (EIB) has given €40 million ($43.4 million) to Wingcopter, a German startup specializing in making drones to deliver medicine and food to remote places.
The investment will come in the form of “quasi-equity,” which means that some of it will be in the form of stock, and the rest will be in the form of a risky loan. The exact ratios have yet to be made public. With the money, Wingcopter will be able to make more Wingcopter 198 drones and build its transportation systems.
The Wingcopter 198 drone can carry up to 5 kilograms and fly 100 kilometers. It can also send up to three packages to three different places during the same flight.
Together with UNICEF, the drone has been used in Malawi to get medicine to places that are hard to get to. The company plans to use the money to expand its delivery services in places like Asia and Latin America that are growing.
Wingcopter wants to test its drone in Germany this summer as part of a pilot project to help rural German communities get food and other consumer goods on demand.
The project is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport. To make the drones more accessible to organizations using them, the startup will rent out its drones.
The money will expand Wingcopter’s production and delivery services and build its logistics and delivery systems. This will help the company handle its service and fleet and track orders.
Part of the funding will also be used to speed up the company’s plan to switch the Wingcopter 198 from battery power to hydrogen power. This will cut down on CO2 emissions and make the drone more self-sufficient.
Wingcopter has successfully delivered medicines and other essential goods to remote areas, just like its American rival Zipline, which raised $330 million last month and runs a drone blood delivery service in Rwanda.
Both firms have concentrated their efforts in Africa, where licenses for such uses are easier to secure.