Delivery drone maker Volansi announces $50 million in Series B funding
By eVTOL | September 15, 2020
Estimated reading time 4 minutes, 8 seconds.
Volansi, the California-based developer of middle-mile delivery drones, announced it has closed a $50 million round of Series B funding led by Icon Ventures.
Existing investors Lightspeed Venture Partners and YCombinator also participated in the round, along with new investors Harpoon Ventures and Merck Global Health Innovation Fund, bringing the company’s total funding to around $75 million.
Volansi said the new investment will allow it to “build on current momentum” by expanding its team, launching new projects, and scaling current initiatives in both emerging markets and in the U.S. The company is pursuing opportunities with enterprise customers and the U.S. Department of Defense for automated deliveries of time-critical parts and medical supplies.
“Closing our Series B with such high-quality investors, especially during these challenging times, is further testament to the venture capital community’s confidence in our business and will allow us to keep pushing the envelope of mobility and robotics,” Volansi co-founder and CEO Hannan Parvizian stated in a press release.
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In addition to the new funding, Volansi also announced that Icon managing partner Joe Horowitz and Lightspeed founding partner Barry Eggers will join its board of directors.
“The drone market is very crowded with all sorts of players, but after getting to know Hannan and his team and doing an extensive amount of due diligence, especially with Volansi’s key customers and distribution partners, it became abundantly clear that the company is well-positioned to rapidly build a huge business,” said Horowitz. “We are particularly excited about Volansi’s unique ability to address the medical community with urgent vaccine delivery, particularly in looking ahead to a post-COVID world.”
Last year, Volansi collaborated with humanitarian aid organization Direct Relief, Merck, and other partners on a successful pilot program that used Volansi drones to demonstrate delivery of temperature-dependent medicines and vaccines. The trial in the Bahamas used live, continuous temperature tracking throughout the flight to ensure the cargo was maintained at precise temperatures as low as -70 C (-94 F).
More recently, Volansi received a Phase II Small Business Innovation Research contract from the U.S. Air Force, which will allow it to demonstrate the capabilities of its VOLY M20 drone. Unveiled at the Air Force’s virtual launch event for Agility Prime, the dual-role VOLY M20 is able to simultaneously carry up to 20 pounds (nine kilograms) of cargo and 10 lb. (4.5 kg) of sensor payloads. Volansi said it has a 350-mile (560-kilometer) range, a cruising speed of 75 mph (120 km/h), and more than eight hours of endurance for sensor operations.