The logistics giant, DB Schenker, is partnering with air mobility provider Volocopter. The main aim of the investment announced last Friday is – among others – to develop a new series of drones for the delivery of parcels and heavier items, but also to finance the certification process of “VoloCity”, a flying taxi able to transport 2 passengers over a distance of 35 kilometers.
With its latest round of fund raising, mobility startup Volocopter has come closer to establishing itself as a logistics service provider. In total, the company based in Bruchsal, southern
Germany, received 87 million euros from DB Schenker and other investors, among them the Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Group and TransLink Capital. Existing partners such as Lukasz Gadowski and btov
participated in the further financing. The amount of money contributed by Deutsche Bahn subsidiary, DB Schenker, was not disclosed. Including previous financing rounds, 2011 founded Volocopter
has thus far raised a total of 122 million euros.
Drones to become part of DB Schenker’s supply chain
DB Schenker's interest is mainly focused on the further development of the VoloDrone to full market maturity. A first model was presented to the public last fall. According to the manufacturer, their fully electrically powered drone can transport shipments weighing up to 200 kilograms over a distance of 40 kilometers, while taxi drone VoloCity can fly 35 km and carry two passengers.
The VoloDrone’s capabilities seem to have triggered DB Schenker, motivating them to support the further development of the urban air mobility pioneer, Volocopter, and their drone projects. This was confirmed by Jochen Thewes, CEO of DB Schenker upon the announcement of his company’s investment: “We are convinced that the Volocopter technology has the potential to bring transport logistics to the next dimension for our customers.” Mr Thewes went on to say: “By integrating the VoloDrone into our supply chain of the future, we will be able to serve our clients’ demand for fast, remote, emission-neutral deliveries. We are thrilled to now be part of this drive for innovation in a fantastic team.”
Enlarged Advisory Board
Touching the team issue, the Volocopter management together with the investors announced some personnel changes. Following the round’s closing, Yifan “Frank” Li, Vice President of Geely Holding Group Co, Ltd. was newly appointed to Volocopter’s Advisory Board, as was DB Schenker Chief Jochen Thewes.
In a move towards further enhancing its corporate governance, Volocopter is bringing on two Independent Advisory Board Members with extensive industry expertise: Former CEO of car manufacturer Daimler AG, Dieter Zetsche, as well as the founder of CAS Software AG, Martin Hubschneider.
Volocopter eyes IPO
Volocopter’s Chairman, Stefan Klocke, commented: “We very much welcome the new members to our Advisory Board, in particular Dieter Zetsche and Martin Hubschneider. The board will support the management in the further strategic development of the company towards the global market leader in urban air mobility and in the preparations for a potential future IPO!”
Further to this, the mobility provider points out that their air taxis have recently championed several public flights at Helsinki airport, in Stuttgart, and over Singapore’s Marina Bay.
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