Global Drone Traffic Leader Unifly Raises €17M in B-round
Words By: Drone Major
Unifly NV, provider of the world’s leading unmanned traffic management (UTM) software for drone enablement, has completed a €17m Series B capital raise bringing in investors including Deutsche Flugsicherung (DFS - the national air traffic control authority of Germany) and FPIM (sovereign wealth fund of Belgium).
Unifly's most recent investor is Belgium's Federal Holding and Investment Company (SFPI-FPIM). FPIM centrally manages the federal government’s shareholdings, cooperates with the government on specific projects and pursues its own investment policy in the interests of the Belgian economy. It acquires equity in companies that are of strategic importance.
Existing investors Terra Drone (drone services provider in Japan), QBIC and PMV (Belgian early stage investors) also participated in the round. Bryan, Garnier & Co., Europe’s growth investment bank, advised Unifly on this transaction.
Unifly is the leading provider of UTM software worldwide, enabling the tracking and management of drones alongside commercial aviation in order to provide visibility on where drones can fly, request and provide flight approvals, manage potential conflicts and implement regulations including no-fly zones.
The company has won national level contracts with the ANSPs of Germany, Belgium, Denmark and Austria, and is the selected provider in several US regions including the pioneering NuAir North Eastern UAS flight corridor and research site. Unifly manages drone corridors in Japan and Malawi among others and is a selected technology provider for the US FAAs LAANC program.
PWC estimates the global market potential for commercial use of drones at more than US $127 billion, but the growing deployment of drones gives rise to predictable challenges including safety, security and privacy, as highlighted by recent drone disruptions around Gatwick, Newark and Frankfurt airports.
These concerns need be resolved rapidly at the national and international level to unleash the market for commercial BVLOS (beyond visual line of sight) flights. The legislation is rapidly falling into place - with European countries under pressure to implement the recently published new European regulation by 2020, with the US and rest of the world not far behind.
DFS brings considerable experience and reach to Unifly as the ANSP in one of Europe’s leading drone markets and as a provider of air traffic control services on an international level, including to Gatwick and Prestwick airports. Terra Drone provides reach into the fast-developing markets of Asia.
Marc Kegelaers, CEO of Unifly: "Bryan, Garnier & Co was the investment banker that helped Unifly secure this successful B-round. This funding round will enable Unifly to continue building its world-leading features and to expand the product offering. This now includes the BLIP which acts as an electronic license plate for drones, combined with high-precision drone tracking.
Unifly will continue to grow their nternational presence and secure additional contracts in the global UTM ‘land grab’. Future markets could be even larger, with the rise of air taxis, with integration between autonomous cars and drones, and with drone UTM software predicted to take over traditional aircraft as they become increasingly automated."