Drone and Urban Air Mobility (UAM) technology company Terra Drone Corporation announced today that it has raised US$70 million (8 billion Japanese yen) in Series B funding with investments from Mitsui & Co., Ltd., SBI Investment Co., Ltd., Tokyu Land Corporation, Kyushu Electric Power T&D, and Seika Corporation. The round also saw funding by the Japan Overseas Infrastructure Investment Corporation for Transport & Urban Development (JOIN) – a public-private infrastructure fund by the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) – to Unmanned Aircraft System Traffic Management the newly established joint venture, as well as participation from existing investor Venture Lab Investment.
The new funding, which brings Terra Drone to a total of US$83 million raised, will be used to strengthen the drone-based solutions that the company offers to government and enterprises, and to accelerate the growth and worldwide adoption of Unmanned Aircraft System Traffic Management (UTM) and UAM solutions. It will also help Terra Drone to expand into the US market this year.
“Our airspace is going to get more crowded than ever, but most companies today are concentrating only on hardware development,” Toru Tokushige, Founder and CEO of Terra Drone, says. “There’s an urgent need for a global air traffic management solution to enable safe and efficient drone and UAM operations, and Terra Drone aims to be the leading player building the digital infrastructure in the sky.”
To that end, Terra Drone has been working with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) to coordinate flight management of both crewed and uncrewed aircraft.
Meanwhile, in the drone inspection vertical, Netherlands-based group company Terra Inspectioneering is serving Oil and Gas production and processing companies such as Shell, BASF, and Bunge. In Southeast Asia, Terra Drone offers survey, inspection, and surveillance services through group company Terra Drone Indonesia whose clients include Chevron, ConocoPhillips, and AECOM.
The company is further enhancing safety and efficiency in many other industries by implementing drone-based solutions worldwide. Terra Drone has been able to record exponential growth at a CAGR of 87 percent since it was founded in 2016. The company turned net profitable in 2019 and has been growing its revenue and operating profit ever since, despite the ongoing global pandemic and consequent economic downturn.
“A focus on increasing recurring revenue through the sale of survey-grade hardware and cloud-based software such as Terra LiDAR; providing specialised services such as ultrasonic thickness (UT) measurements and non-destructive testing (NDT) using drones through Terra Inspectioneering; and a strategic consolidation of overseas business has made us well-positioned for success. With this latest round of funding, we will be able to scale up operations and innovate faster,” Tokushige says.
Tatsuhiko Takesada, President and CEO at JOIN, adds, “Terra Drone comes with a proven track record of providing impeccable enterprise drone services in both Japan and overseas. By investing in its related company which offers UTM worldwide together with Terra Drone, we are looking forward to accelerating the development of an operations management system that would contribute to the safe and efficient integration of drones and UAM into commercial airspace. With the opportunities for drone use expected to increase exponentially in the times to come, we are committed to supporting Terra Drone in its global expansion.”
Toshio Todoroki, General Manager, New Field Business Unit, Renewable Energy & New Field Business Division, INPEX, adds as an existing investor, “There are many drone companies, but under the strong leadership of CEO Toru Tokushige, Terra Drone is aiming to become the world’s top drone company for industrial use. INPEX will further expand our business by realizing the collaborative ‘INPEX-Terra Drone Intelligent Drone Concept’ and running the diversified next-generation energy business together with Terra Drone. We are aiming for scale.”