London-based Skyports, an urban air mobility infrastructure provider and drone delivery operator, just pocketed $23 million in the first close of its Series B funding round.
The investment came from a combination of new and existing investors. Also, all existing institutional shareholders participated in the round, including Deutsche Bahn Digital Ventures, Groupe ADP, Solar Ventus, Irelandia and Levitate Capital with a number materially increasing their stake.
These investors were joined by Japanese conglomerate Kanematsu Corporation, global industrial property group Goodman Group, Italian airport platform 2i Aeroporti, backed by Ardian’s Infrastructure Fund and F2i Italian Infrastructure Fund, and US based VC firm GreenPoint.
How will Skyports use the fund?
The fresh funds will enable Skyports to accelerate its work with the world’s leading electric air taxi manufacturers and operators, providing take-off and landing infrastructure in key launch markets. Also, the company will materially scale its Drone Services operations in new and existing markets, building on active operations in the UK, Europe and Asia.
As per the company, the investment will enable it to consolidate its position as a global leader in the advanced air mobility infrastructure and drone operations markets.
Besides this, Kanematsu Corporation will take a seat on the Skyports board. Also, the company will be joined by Ken Allen, CEO of DHL eCommerce who joins the board as an independent non-executive director.
Duncan Walker, CEO of Skyports said “This is another great milestone for Skyports as we continue our journey to be the leading vertiport owner and operator in the world. The support of our original investors who have deep experience in aviation and infrastructure and the addition of new capital from world class companies with a global footprint enables us to build the air taxi eco-system alongside our best-in-class vehicle partners for initial operations within a couple of years. Our growing Drone Services business.”
UK’s first COVID test drone delivery service
Founded by Duncan Walker and Simon Morrish in 2018, 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.
In 2021, 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.
The delivery drones, operated by the logistics arm of the company can carry up to 3kg of critical medical supplies up to 40 miles. Besides the test samples, other cargo to be carried by these drones include medicine, essential personal protective equipment (PPE) and COVID-19 testing kits. What’s more, Skyports has become the first operator to receive permission by the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to carry diagnostic specimens by drone.
It was announced that Skyports will use the Swoop Aero drone-powered logistics platform. The vehicles will be controlled from the Skyports Operations Centre in Oban and fly automatically along predefined routes. Communication between the drone and the ground control station will be provided by Vodafone’s 4G network and satellite communications to ensure connectivity coverage is provided at all times.
The project was funded by a joint initiative between the UK Space Agency (UKSA) and European Space Agency (ESA) Space Solutions to utilise space-enabled technology and services that can support the NHS.
Develops Europe’s first test vertiport
Late last year, Skyports began developing Europe’s first test vertiport in Paris in an attempt to launch commercial Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) services in time for the 2024 Paris Olympics. Initially, the vertiport will serve as a technology testbed to provide a safe and realistic environment for Skyports and members of the initiative to integrate and test the critical technologies required to enable AAM in Europe.