London-based Dronamics, a cargo drone airline with a license to operate in Europe, announced on Thursday, that it has received an award grant of €2.5M from the European Commission under the European Innovation Council (EIC) Accelerator programme.
The EIC has also expressed a material commitment to support Dronamics’ upcoming Series A round.
Dronamics was selected as one of the few companies to have been awarded funding by the EIC Accelerator programme, which had nearly 1,000 candidates.
“The world’s first cargo drone airline”
Founded in 2014 by Konstantin Rangelov and Svilen Rangelov, Dronamics claims to be the world’s first cargo drone airline that develops and operates large, long-range drones. The company is democratising airfreight for millions of people by making it more efficient, affordable and accessible.
Its flagship Black Swan can transport 350 kg (770 lb) at a distance of up to 2,500 km (1,550 mi), up to 80 per cent faster, 50 per cent less expensive, and with up to 60 per cent fewer emissions than alternative modes of transportation, including airfreight.
The company’s large, long-range drones, make it possible for a range of businesses, including medicine, food, e-commerce, and spare parts, to ship the same day across very vast distances. Dronamics is the first authorised freight drone airline in Europe and the first Global Strategic Partner for drones for IATA.
Speaking about its droneport network, the company says. “The network operation is powered by our fully mobile droneport cargo equipment, as well as our autonomous and semi-autonomous remote fleet control system with worldwide coverage. This means that Dronamics can reach where traditional aircraft does not, allowing for easy integration into any business’ supply chain. And, by eliminating the need for local warehousing, there is a drastic reduction in time, cost and emissions.”
According to Dronamics, droneports can be set up in abandoned airfields, airports, seaports, logistical hubs, and factory sites with little in the way of infrastructure. All that is required are paved or unpaved airstrips that are longer than 400 metres so they may connect communities and companies who have not previously had access to inexpensive same-day delivery and service underutilised routes.
With an aim to democratise air freight, Dronamics says it will use the grant to support the development and roll-out of its cargo drone fleet, the deployment of the first droneports in its network and conduct business in Europe.
Svilen Rangelov, co-founder and CEO of Dronamics, says, “We are honoured to receive this support from the European Innovation Council, which we see as a testament to the impact that cargo drone logistics can have on the EU economy at large. We will use this grant to establish our European operations and keep bringing innovation to help elevate communities and businesses using breakthroughs in aviation and technology that will revolutionise air cargo mobility.”
Brief about the European Innovation Council
The European Innovation Council (EIC) was established by the European Commission in 2021 following a three-year successful pilot phase. Its goal is to find, create, and scale up disruptive innovations and breakthrough technologies. Over €10B has been allocated to it for the years 2021–2027.
The funding and support are divided into three main funding schemes that address all levels of technology readiness: EIC Pathfinder, for advanced research to create the scientific foundation for ground-breaking technologies; EIC Transition, to validate technologies and create business plans for particular applications; and EIC Accelerator, to assist businesses (SMEs, start-ups, spin-outs, and in exceptional cases small mid-caps) in commercialising and scaling up their innovations.
The Accelerator offers financial assistance together with direct equity investments in businesses through a specialised EIC Fund, which also offers a platform for co-investments with other investors.
The EIC Board, which consists of 20 members from the innovation ecosystem, is in charge of directing the strategy and execution of the EIC (academia, business, investment, ecosystem builders). To define the goals and proactively manage project portfolios toward technical advancements, the EIC additionally hires devoted Programme Managers with high-level experience in respective domains.