Terra Drone Corp. this week announced that it has raised 8 billion Japanese yen ($70 million U.S.) in Series B investment. The drone and urban air mobility technology company said it plans to build out its infrastructure toward its goal of “evolving the world from the sky.”
“Our airspace is going to get more crowded than ever, but most companies today are concentrating only on hardware development,” stated Toru Tokushige, founder and CEO of Terra Drone. “There's an urgent need for a global air-traffic management solution to enable safe and efficient drone and UAM [urban air mobility] operations, and Terra Drone aims to be the leading player building the digital infrastructure in the sky.”
Founded in 2016, Terra Drone provides drone hardware and cloud-based software for survey and inspection and thickness measurement by ultrasonic non-destructive testing (NDT). The Tokyo-based company claimed that it is the world's largest provider of industrial drones, with offices in Europe and Southeast Asia.
Market research firm Drone Industry Insights ranked Terra Drone as No. 1 in the “Drone Services Companies Worldwide Ranking 2020,” as well as in 2019.
Terra Drone offers services worldwide
Terra Drone said it is improving safety and efficiency in many industries by implementing drone-based systems worldwide. It has worked with Velodyne Lidar.
“A focus on increasing recurring revenue through the sale of survey-grade hardware and cloud-based software such as Terra Lidar; providing specialized solutions such as ultrasonic thickness [UT] measurements and NDT using drones through Terra Inspectioneering; and a strategic consolidation of overseas business has made us well-positioned for success,” said Tokushige. “With this latest round of funding, we will be able to scale up operations and innovate faster.”
Terra Drone has completed several projects with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) on uncrewed aircraft system traffic management (UTM) and UAM.
Meanwhile, in the drone inspection vertical, Netherlands-based group company Terra Inspectioneering BV serves 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. Its clients include Chevron, ConocoPhillips, and AECOM.
Japanese investors in Series B round
Mitsui & Co., SBI Investment Co., Tokyu Land Corp., Kyushu Electric Power T&D, and Seika Corp. participated in Terra Drone's Series B round. Existing investor Venture Lab Investment also participated.
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) – also contributed to the newly established joint venture.
The global market for drone inspection and monitoring could grow from $9.8 billion in 2021 to $36.6 billion in 2030, experiencing a compound annual growth rate of $15.8%, according to Emergen Research. It cited the growth of wind turbines as a major driver of demand.