Drones are used for various benefits across industries, including construction, insurance, and agriculture among others with each of these companies demonstrating a broad range of commercial applications. The drone manufacturers are working towards capitalising on this and turning drones into a full-fledged industry.
As per reports, the growth in drone industry growth is expected to reach $63.6 billion in three years. With the support from the government and commercial sectors towards the growing demand for drones, the total drone market is expected to be worth $100 billion.
Contributing to this growth, there are some drone heavyweights worldwide. The US-based Zipline is hitting the headlines for its operations in Africa. Also, there are other notable companies in the segment, including Dji, Joby Aviation, Anduril Industries, and Skydio. Furthermore, we have seen ingenious drone companies such as DroneSeed, a tech-powered alternative to large-scale tree-planting intends to face.
As the industry is all set to grow and reach new heights, TFN has listed the top 10 promising drone startups worldwide that disrupting the sector in 2022.
Founder/s: Lei Zhang
Founded year: 2016
Total funding: $4.4M
Xunyi aka Antwork is an AI drone company, which is creating a new logistics network with unmanned drones, and cars. It leverages its in-house developed fleet of drones with features like automated distribution, loading, automatic take-off, autonomous cruise, landing, self-unloading, automatic return and others. It features a payload capacity of up to 5 kg and an operating range of up to 10 km.
Founder/s: Duncan Walker, Simon Morrish
Founded year: 2017
Total funding: $8M
Skyports is an urban air mobility infrastructure provider and drone delivery operator for aviation and managing end-to-end drone deliveries. The company secures, designs, builds, owns and operates passenger and cargo vertiports. Skyports provides drone delivery through its logistics arm, Delivery by Skyports. Last year, the drone operator helped the NHS carry COVID test samples and other medical materials between medical facilities in Scotland in a first-of-its-kind move.
In 2020, Skyports secured an extension to its Series A funding round from Irelandia Aviation. Also, Deutsche Bahn Digital Ventures, Groupe ADP and Levitate Capital joined the round.
Founder/s: Amit Regev, Yariv Bash
Founded year: 2013
Total funding: $60M
Headquartered in Tel Aviv, Flytrex develops drone delivery systems that simplify deliveries and enhance efficiency by shortening delivery times and lowering costs. It offers tailored, end-to-end drone delivery solutions based on its proprietary cloud technology. Using its wire release mechanism, orders are gently lowered from eighty feet, thereby ensuring a quiet and secure delivery.
In October last year, Flytrex picked up $40 million in Series C funding led by BRM Group alongside participation from OurCrowd (the SoftBank-backed, Israel-based crowdfunded investor), Lukasz Gadowski (founder and chairman of Delivery Hero) and existing investors.
Founder/s: Anshu Abhishek, Vikram Singh Meena
Founded year: 2017
Total funding: $470k
TechEagle provides safe, secure and reliable on-demand drone delivery solutions for healthcare and essential packages. It was one of the first companies to get MoCA and DGCA approvals for conducting 100 hours of BVLOS trials for package delivery in India. Last year, the company cancelled the acquisition by food delivery service Zomato and forayed into Ethiopia.
In July last year, the drone startup TechEagle secured a seed funding round of $470k in an internal round infused mostly by its co-founders.
Beagle Drones (US)
Founder/s: Dwight Neptune
Founded year: NA
Total funding: NA
US-based, Beagle Drones was established by a Black founder. The company is focused on building products that let users explore the world. Its drones empower users to discover and create breathtaking experiences. It offers The simplest drone kit for beginner drone racers. The company’s products include Neo 2 priced at $129, Drone Kit 2x priced at $499 and Nova priced at $599 and offers free shipping across the US.
Founder/s: Ricardo Mendes, Pedro Sinogas, Vitor Cristina
Founded year: 2001
Total funding: $23.2M
A European drone startup – Tekever manufactures UAVs and software products for military and enterprise applications. Its drones include fixed-wing and one quadcopter models. Tekever builds drones with integrated AI tailored for monitoring and detecting activity on the water. Its customers include governments and their agencies involved in monitoring waters for illegal activity, private shipping, and seafaring companies.
Earlier this year, Tekever pocketed €20 million ($23 million) in a funding round led by Ventura Capital. Also, the round saw participation from Iberis Capital and a slew of unnamed strategic investors from the maritime industry. The drone startup announced that it will use the investment to hire more people and continue to build its technology.
Wildlife Drones (Australia)
Founder/s: Debbie Saunders
Founded year: 2016
Total funding: $670k
Canberra-based, woman-led Wildlife Drones is now an award-winning startup that is currently working with a range of people across Australia and abroad to track the movements of some of the world’s most endangered species. It works with the mission to improve the way animal movements are tracked and understood. These drones can safely access rugged and remote terrain from the air and track multiple animals and view their locations in real-time.
In 2019, the Canberra drone startup secured $670k in seed funding from Uniseed Ventures to get its new tracking device to the market and revolutionise animal tracking.
Founder/s: Ansgar Kadura, Jonathan Hesselbarth, Tom Plümmer
Founded year: 2017
Total funding: $24.1M
Wingcopter is a German developer, manufacturer, and operator of unmanned eVTOL fixed-wing aircraft. The company focuses on the delivery of goods such as medicines to remote health facilities, packages, and food to private households. Wingcopters can exceed the range and payload capabilities of commercial multi-copter drones. Notably, Wingcopter 198 is the world’s first triple-drop delivery drone.
Recently, Wingcopter partnered with UAV LATAM, a Latin American holding with more than 10 years of experience in the unmanned aerial vehicle space (UAV). UAV LATAM, plans to use Wingcopter’s cargo drones to provide access to medical products to hard-to-reach communities in the Peruvian Andes. Also, it wants to expand the service to other countries.
Founder/s: Ariel Avitan, Dor Abuhasira, Raviv Raz, Sagi Blonder
Founded year: 2014
Total funding: $72.5M
Israeli pioneering autonomous inspection industrial robotics startup Percepto develops autonomous drone technology for surveillance and inspections. Percepto changes the way visual data is collected and analysed. The company’s autonomous drones are powered by computer vision to perform multiple security, safety, and inspections missions using a 24/7 onsite drone-in-a-box station. It eyes to launch a solution for remote, fully autonomous, asset monitoring, inspection and compliance of industrial sites.
In late 2020, Percepto picked up $45 million in a Series B funding round that was led by Koch Disruptive Technologies (KDT) alongside participation of USVP and Spider Capital and some new investors.
Manna Drone Delivery (Ireland)
Founder/s: Bobby Healy
Founded year: 2019
Total funding: $30.2M
A drone delivery startup from Dublin, Manna provides services to restaurant chains, online food delivery platforms and dark kitchens. It brings about a transformation and helps local businesses of all types grow by providing a 3-minute delivery service across a 30 square mile catchment area for them.
Last year, Manna raised $25 million from Draper Esprit alongside participation from existing investors and Team Europe to expand its drone fleet’s operations, add delivery of prescription medical supplies and expand into the U.S.