Maritime drone delivery start-up F-drones of Singapore has completed a new funding round, led by ship management company Eastern Pacific Shipping (EPS) and with participation from the Schulte Group through its venture arm Innoport.
Other investors include SEEDS Capital, Entrepreneur First, Orient Ventures, Superangel and some other individual Singapore-based angel investors.
“We are very excited to be able to close the round with more capital than we initially intended. This demonstrates the industry’s confidence in our capability and vision to make maritime logistics more efficient, sustainable and safe,” said Yeshwanth Reddy, Co-Founder of F-drones.
“The capital will enable us to grow our team, accelerate our technology development and bring an unparalleled solution to market faster.”
F-drones provides commercial Beyond-Vision-Line-Of-Sight (BVLOS) drone deliveries to ships and is currently in the process of developing its Hyperlaunch Heavy (HLH) unit, a fully electric and autonomous drone capable of delivering 100kg payloads over 100km.
At present, F-drones is conducting test flights on Hyperlaunch, a scaled-down version of HLH, capable of delivering 5kg loads over 50km. It is planning to start test flights to ships in Singapore later this year and commence commercial drone deliveries with Hyperlaunch soon after.
The new funding has been earmarked to support the development of new technology and commercial partnerships, and to hire talent in aircraft design, avionics, autonomy and computer vision.
“EPS is proud to lead F-drones’ first seed round. We firmly believe they will reinvent the shore-to-ship delivery process by being faster, cheaper, and cleaner than any existing model in use today,” said Gil Ofer, Special Advisor for Innovation at Eastern Pacific Shipping.
“F-drones also adds an urgent layer of safety for seafarers and service providers by limiting human contact for routine deliveries. We see F-drones as pioneers in an emerging space which has immense potential and we are excited to be part of their journey.”
In addition to its investors, F-drones’ development has also been supported by various government agencies, including the Maritime and Port Authority (MPA) and Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS). Its flight tests originally started at Marina South Pier and operations have now expanded to serve a larger area.