European Investment Bank Backs Wingcopter’s Pioneering Drone Delivery Technology with €40 Million Investment

© Wingcopter

(IN BRIEF) The European Investment Bank (EIB) is investing €40 million in Wingcopter, a European drone delivery technology company. Wingcopter’s electrically powered unmanned aircraft have already been successfully used in small-scale commercial and humanitarian projects, including delivering medical supplies in Malawi. The investment is part of the European Commission’s InvestEU program and aims to support sustainable infrastructure. Wingcopter’s unique drones can take off and land vertically, cover long distances efficiently, and carry up to 5 kg of cargo. The funding will help the company expand its operations, obtain regulatory approvals, and establish large-scale delivery networks.

(PRESS RELEASE) LUXEMBOURG, 11-May-2023 — /EuropaWire/ — The European Investment Bank (EIB), the lending arm of the European Union, has announced a €40 million quasi-equity investment in Wingcopter GmbH, a pioneering European company in unmanned delivery drone technology. Wingcopter, founded in 2017 in Germany, has already demonstrated the capabilities of its electrically powered unmanned aircraft in various commercial and humanitarian projects. Notably, in collaboration with UNICEF and Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, Wingcopter’s drones have successfully delivered life-saving medicines and medical supplies to remote communities in Malawi.

The EIB’s investment, supported by the European Commission’s InvestEU programme, falls under the sustainable infrastructure window. By utilizing electric cargo drones for urgent deliveries, Wingcopter aims to replace carbon-intensive transportation modes like motorcycles, vans, and helicopters, thus contributing to a green and sustainable economy.

The Wingcopter 198, capable of vertical takeoff and landing while swiftly covering long distances, will undergo its first operational test in Germany this summer. In collaboration with the Frankfurt University of Applied Sciences, Wingcopter will launch a pilot project in southern Hesse, focusing on on-demand transportation of groceries and consumer goods. This initiative, funded by the German Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport, aims to enhance local supply chains in rural German communities through sustainable delivery services.

Wingcopter’s cargo drones are distinguished by their unique combination of vertical takeoff and landing capabilities and efficient long-distance flight, eliminating the need for costly infrastructure. These drones can carry payloads of up to 5 kg and cover distances of up to 100 km. The core hardware and software have been patented worldwide. The company is also collaborating with the ZAL Center of Applied Aeronautical Research GmbH in Hamburg to develop a green hydrogen energy system that will further extend the flight endurance of Wingcopter’s drones.

The EIB’s investment adds to the support received from a robust group of international investors, including prominent names such as REWE Group, ITOCHU, Xplorer Capital, and Expa (investment arm of Uber co-founder Garrett Camp). With these combined investments, Wingcopter aims to enhance the capabilities of its flagship drone, secure regulatory approvals in key markets, and establish sustainable last-mile delivery networks, ultimately positioning itself as a global logistics services provider across multiple sectors.

EIB Vice-President Ambroise Fayolle, who is responsible for activities in Germany, said: “Europe is currently the global leader in cleantech, and we must work hard to maintain this lead. Backing European cleantech pioneers with global reach like Wingcopter is central to our mission. Electric cargo drones are an important vertical segment for a future of sustainable transport and logistics. This investment underlines our commitment to supporting entrepreneurs growing and building advanced green technology businesses in the European Union, strengthening our technological competitiveness, creating highly skilled jobs and opening up new markets, while preserving nature. We are proud to be supporting this European success story.”

European Commissioner for Economy Paolo Gentiloni said: “This agreement is an excellent example of how InvestEU is helping businesses access the finance they need to innovate and expand. InvestEU will continue to support investment that will allow Europe to maintain its position as a world leader in the development and production of innovative products with positive real-world applications.”

Wingcopter co-founder and CEO Tom Plümmer said: “We would like to thank the European Investment Bank for their trust in us and their support as we strive to become a global leader in the drone-based delivery of urgently needed goods, from medical supplies to groceries. Our goal is also to improve lives by creating many jobs — in R&D and manufacturing at our headquarters in Europe, as well as in the countries where we provide services, where we train and qualify local young people to operate our drone delivery networks. It requires strong partners like the EIB to build reliable, efficient and safe delivery drone technology and logistics services.”

Background information

The European Investment Bank (EIB)’s  activities focus on the following priority areas: climate and environment, development, innovation and skills, small and medium-sized businesses, infrastructure and cohesion. The EIB works closely with other EU institutions to foster European integration, promote the development of the European Union and support EU policies in over 140 countries around the world.

The InvestEU programme provides the European Union with long-term funding by leveraging substantial private and public funds in support of a sustainable economy. It helps generate additional investments in line with EU policy priorities, such as the European Green Deal, the digital transition and support for small and medium-sized enterprises. InvestEU brings all EU financial instruments together under one roof, making funding for investment projects in Europe simpler, more efficient and more flexible. The programme consists of three components: the InvestEU Fund, the InvestEU Advisory Hub, and the InvestEU Portal. The InvestEU Fund is implemented through financial partners who invest in projects using the EU budget guarantee of €26.2 billion. This guarantee increases their risk-bearing capacity, thus mobilising at least €372 billion in additional investment.

Wingcopter is a German manufacturer of unmanned, all-electric delivery drones and provider of drone delivery services, specialising in improving medical supply chains and the logistics of urgently needed goods. The 150-strong team is dedicated to improving and saving lives worldwide through meaningful commercial and humanitarian applications. Wingcopter is a World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer and Global Innovator.

Thanks to its patented tilt-rotor mechanism and proprietary software algorithms, the Wingcopter 198 can take off and land vertically like a multicopter, while flying long distances as efficiently and quickly as a fixed-wing aircraft, even in rain and wind.

Wingcopter’s investors include the EIB, REWE Group, Salvia, XAI technologies, Xplorer Capital, Futury Capital, ITOCHU, DRONE FUND, SYNERJET, Expa, Hessen Kapital III, and Corecam Capital Partners.

Media contacts:

Donata Riedel
+352 4379 – 86192

Press Office
+352 4379 – 21000

SOURCE: European Investment Bank


Follow EuropaWire on Google News

Comments are closed.