- Bulgarian drone cargo airline Dronamics is back on SeedBlink to raise EUR 2M
- Undisclosed investors have pre-committed EUR 1M
- Dronamics plans to launch commercially in late 2023
- The raised investment will fund the company’s in-house R&D and manufacturing
A year and a half after their initial success on SeedBlink, Bulgarian drone cargo delivery operator Dronamics returned to the famous crowd investment platform to raise a EUR 2M Pre-Series A round. As it is usual for SeedBlink, an amount of EUR 1M was pre-committed by institutional investors who chose to remain undisclosed this time.
A team of aviation, logistics, and technology experts led by Konstantin (CTO) and Svilen Rangelov (CEO) started Dronamics in 2014. Their mission was to disrupt the delivery industry by making it more efficient and sustainable, as well as to revolutionize the very approach to drones.
Innovation Outrunning Legislation
‘Traditionally in aviation, new aircraft are based on previous aircraft, to simplify certification as it is one of the most regulated industries. This naturally leads to very little innovation. Similarly, when small drones came on the market, a lot of next iterations were advancements of the previous versions. It’s a safer and quicker go-to-market for manufacturers. Since the start, we believed in our thesis that middle-mile logistics are where drones can make a real difference, and therefore, built an aircraft solely for that purpose,’ Mr Rangelov explains.
The startup claims that this approach put Dronamics several years ahead of competitors.
Interestingly, the regulatory frames for commercial drones didn’t exist when Dronamics first started. The EU regulation for drone operators has developed along with the startup’s R&D process. Consequently, Dronamics became the first cargo drone airline to get licensed under the BVLOS framework.
‘We became Dronamics’ first investor first and foremost due to the exceptional founders – Svilen and Konstantin. Their approach to building the team, solving problems and tackling such a pressing cargo logistics issue is truly unique. With the rising demands of e-commerce, fast delivery, and reaching remote areas, autonomous cargo drones stand at the cusp of a sector poised for explosive growth. Our investment embodies our faith in Dronamics’ vision and capability to reshape the logistics industry,’ Eleven Ventures managing partner Daniel Tomov shares.
Efficiency and Sustainability
Dronamics’ product is called the Black Swan, a drone specifically designed for same-day deliveries. It can carry up to 350 kg of cargo within a 2,500 km distance. The aircraft can integrate into supply chains seamlessly and is equally suitable for a variety of industries, including e-commerce, spare parts, food, medicine and pharmaceutics, and more. Moreover, according to the startup’s calculations, Black Swan not only delivers cargo up to 80% faster and 50% cheaper, but also emits up to 60% less carbon.
‘The innovation of Dronamics is not only set to address existing challenges in the sector but also contribute to minimizing carbon emissions, a factor that resonates with our fund’s focus on sustainability and technological advancement,’ Mr Tomov adds.
‘With its strong first-mover advantage, innovative technology, manufacturing partnerships, and commitment to sustainability, Dronamics is poised to reshape the freight industry and lead the way towards a more efficient and environmentally friendly future of logistics,’ SeedBlink’s managing partner Andrei Dudoiu continues.
One of Black Swan’s key advantages is that it can land on any terrain. It needs 400 meters of airstrip for take-off and landing (much less than a traditional aircraft), and it doesn’t need to be paved. This opens up an opportunity to reinvigorate underused air strips and tier-B and -C regional airports that see little to no commercial traffic. The network of drone ports can extend anywhere as the infrastructure required is light and flexible.
‘We thought it was an interesting concept – to use readily available technology in a unique way to address a big opportunity. We also loved the passion of the brothers, their bold ambitions, and grit and resilience to make this work,’ Founders Factory’s COO at the time Louis Warner says.
Model and Application
Importantly, Dronamics sells capacity on its routes, not aircraft, providing an all-in-one solution to its customers. The cargo drone ‘mobility-as-a-service’ model provides unique benefits to a variety of industries, especially ones where time sensitive deliveries are a factor.
‘Humanitarian aid is another segment where we can deliver significant value due to the affordability, flexibility and reach of our cargo mobility solution. As for other imaginable uses, Dronamics is and will always be a strictly civilian, commercial use cargo mobility service,’ Mr Rangelov assures.
Back to Crowdfunding with Further Ambition
The startup’s oversubscribed crowdfunding campaign (of EUR 900K) on SeedBlink in December 2021 made Dronamics one of the platform’s flagship portfolio companies. The current campaign set the goal of raising EUR 2M and runs until July 31st. Once again, the round is already overfunded with EUR 2.2M+ at the time when this article is published.
‘Because of the high level of interest, we decided to provide current, as well as new investors, the opportunity to become part of the Dronamics investor community, after the company achieved several important milestones. Dronamics’ initial campaign was one of the first international campaigns to raise capital through the SeedBlink equity crowdfunding platform. Similarly to us, SeedBlink have an innovative approach and they are key supporters to the startup and scaleup ecosystem in the region,’ Mr Rangelov tells ITKeyMedia.
Following successful field trials in May, Dronamics plans to launch full-scale delivery as soon as in Q4 2023. The initial launch market will be Greece before expanding wider into the Mediterranean and the rest of Europe. Further, Dronamics plans to use the raised investment on operations and the ongoing in-house prototyping and manufacturing.
Kostiantyn is a freelance writer from Crimea but based in Lviv. He loves writing about IT and high tech because those topics are always upbeat and he’s an inherent optimist!