In what is probably the most counter intuitive drone investment of 2016, French drone manufacturer Delair-Tech has raised $14.5 million in a funding round lead by one the most French sources imaginable: cognac.
A holding of the Heriard Dubreuil family, Andromede, lead the funding round and owns 22% of Delair’s capital. The Heriard Dubreuil family is the leading investor in cognac-maker Remy Cointreau, SA.
While Remy Cointreau doesn’t use Delair’s drones yet, it is probably only a matter of time… Delair’s UAVs are complex and highly customizable systems intended for agricultural use as well as industrial surveying and mapping.
With this latest investment, the company intends to grow its recently opened Australian subsidiary, as well as expand into the U.S. and China, two very lucrative markets when it comes to aerial data capture in the agriculture and mapping industries, by the end of the year.
“We are thrilled to become shareholders in Delair-Tech, a company which embodies French technological excellence, serving the largest industrial groups in France and throughout the world. With this investment, Andromède is affirming its determination to be a key investor in the professional civil drone sector, an area of particular interest,” said François Morinière, Advisor to the Andromède Board of Directors, in the press release.
And ‘French technological excellence’ is an understatement as France is home to some of the most important names in the nascent prosumer UAV industry.
The average person may recognize a Phantom, manufactured by Shenzen, China based DJI or a Solo, the most popular drone manufactured by an American company (3D Robotics), but it would be a challenge to find someone who hasn’t seen the drone that started it all: the AR Drone manufactured by Parrot, the French company that has brought consumer UAVs into big box electronic stores all over the world.
In addition to Delair-Tech and Parrot, France is also home to Airinov which offers the drones of senseFly (a Parrot subsidiary) specifically outfitted for agricultural use as well as UAV distributor Avyon, and ProDrone, both of which also appear in Andromede’s investment portfolio.