Our radar of innovative business #72

Industrial drone maker Skydio raises $230 million in Series E. European climate fund Planet A Ventures raises €160 million for investing in climate tech. Renovate raises $2.5 million to build robots that can lay roof shingles

Industrial drone maker Skydio raises $230 million in Series E


Skydio, one of the pioneers in industrial drone design, has just announced a $230 million Series E fundraising round, as well as the construction of a new factory in California enabling it to increase its production capacity tenfold. The funding round was led by many investors, including Linse Capital, as well as existing investors Andreessen Horowitz, Next47, IVP, DoCoMo, Nvidia, the Walton Family Foundationand UP.Partners, along with new investments from Hercules Capital and Axon.

Skydio claims to have seen a 30x growth in revenue over the past three years and is now the largest drone manufacturer in the US. The company has contracts with numerous US government agencies, working with more than 200 public safety agencies in 47 states, as well as every branch of the US Department of Defense and more than half of all US State Departments of Transportation. These agencies cannot purchase drones from the market leader, the Chinese manufacturer DJI, for security reasons.

Apart from the defense and security sectors, the company is seeing strong growth in demand worldwide for its products in all areas. Its drones are of particular interest to players in the transport, energy, construction and telecommunications sectors, thanks to their great autonomy and their imbedded collision avoidance detection systems.

European climate fund Planet A Ventures raises €160 million for investing in climate tech

Planet A Ventures, a new investment fund dedicated to innovation in climate tech, has just launched. The €160-million fund adopts a “science-based” approach, in which its science team has the power of veto on all investment decisions. The in-house science team carries out « life cycle assessments » upstream of each investment to determine the real positive impact of the startup. If there’s no significant impact on the environment, the deal won’t go through.

Planet A Ventures is particularly interested in key sectors, including agriculture, forestry and food, construction and real estate, energy and heating, industry, transport and mobility, water, waste and remediation. Investment ticket sizes range from €0.5 million to €3 million.

So far, 14 investments have already been made before the closing was announced, including equity investments in Makersite (decarbonisation tech used by Microsoft and P&G), GA Drilling (plasma drills), C1 (green methanol production) and 44.01(carbon storage technology).

Investors in the fund include BMW, KfW Capital, REWE, the Danish state investment fund Vaekstfonden/EIFO and entrepreneurs such as Rolf Schrömgens (Trivago), Maximilian Backhaus (HelloFresh) and Rubin Ritter (Zalando).

Renovate raises $2.5 million to build robots that can lay roof shingles

Roofing is one of the most dangerous construction jobs around. To reduce the risks, Renovate Robotics is developing technology to automate roof shingle installation.

The robot designed by Renovate Robotics works on a winch-based system: the robot is attached to a roof and moves on the surface in an X,Y axis pattern similar to a gantry, laying shingles as it goes. The system requires a human operator to monitor progress and replace shingles. The company’s goal is not to fully automate the process.

Ultimately, the company’s model will be based on leasing robots to building contractors who are trained to use their technology, and thus able to operate the system themselves on site.

To accelerate its growth and R&D, the startup has just announced a pre-seed fundraising of $2.5 million, led by the Alley Robotics Ventures, alongside HAX, Newlab, Uphonest Capital and Climate Capital. What’s more, Dylan Crow, analyst at the HAX fund, was so convinced by the project that he went from investor to COO and co-founder of the startup.

And also… 

Four Belgian players join forces to create a consortium to decarbonise the construction industry – L’Écho

Dutch startup Respyre raises €300,000 for its green facade solution – Silicon Canals

DEN raises $3 million to launch new home-building platform BuiltBy DEN – PR Newswire

Buildclub, the « Amazon Prime for contractors » expands across 15 US cities – Construction Dive



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