German drone company raises R670 million to expand sub-Saharan Africa deliveries

German delivery drone manufacturer Wingcopter has secured $42 million (R670 million) to expand its operations in sub-Saharan Africa.

The Series A extension round has tripled the company’s total equity raised to over $60 million (R960 million).

Investors included REWE Group, Salvia and XAI technologies, ITOCHU, Futury Capital, and Xplorer Capital.

Since REWE Group is one of Germany’s largest grocery retailers with operations across Europe, Wingcopter said its operations would expand beyond the current primary focus on medical delivery services.

“With the fresh funding, Wingcopter will be able to further expand its drone delivery services globally and ramp up production of the world’s most efficient eVTOL delivery drone, the Wingcopter 198,” the drone company said.

“In Malawi, where the company has been active since 2019, Wingcopter will expand its network operations with new Wingcopter 198 drones and more hubs, transporting various medical goods … to remote health centres.”

Besides its primary focus on delivering medical supplies, Wingcopter also focuses on last-mile delivery, including tools, spare parts, food, and groceries.

In May, Wingcopter announced a partnership with Continental Drones to expand its operations by establishing delivery networks across the African continent.

The partnership means that Continental Drones has become a Wingcopter Authorised Partner for every country in sub-Saharan Africa.

“Over the next five years, the goal of the two partners is to deploy 12,000 Wingcopter 198 … throughout Africa, making it the largest commercial deployment in the global delivery drone industry to date,” Wingcopter said.

The drone service provider aims to use the new funds to hire 80 new employees and accelerate research and development efforts to improve product features.

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