Riga-based robotic technology developer Aerones has raised 9 million dollars in a seed round led by Future Positive Capital with the participation of its existing investor Change Ventures, Skype founder Jaan Tallinn, Cofounder of Vinted Mantas Mikuckas, Printify CEO James Berdigans, Capitalia, Pace Ventures, and EcoSummit. The company delivers innovative robotic wind turbine blade inspections, cleaning, coating, and repair services. This capital will boost the company’s growth and pave the way for its Series A funding round.
Aerones raises $9M in seed funding to scale on-site robotic operations for global wind energy operators
Aerones, the YC company that builds robots to automate and scale wind turbine inspection and maintenance, raised a $9M seed round to scale production, expand services and meet fast-growing demand.
The round was led by Future Positive Capital, alongside existing investor Change Ventures. Other investors include Skype founder Jaan Tallinn (through his vehicle Metaplanet), Vinted co-founder Mantas Mikuckas, Printify CEO James Berdigans, Capitalia, Pace Ventures, and EcoSummit.
With its suite of proprietary robots, Aerones inspects and maintains turbines up to six times faster and up to 40% more cost efficiently than humans.
As opposed to conventional inspections and maintenance operations (where humans rappel down turbines in sometimes dangerous weather conditions), Aerones’ robots deliver results without any safety risks to individuals, and in a broader range of weather conditions.
“Aerones is the first full-stack player in the industry,” said Sofia Hmich, founder of Future Positive Capital, “as opposed to companies that merely use remote sensing to capture data or focus on analytics, Aerones automates complex operations. They are becoming the one-stop-shop for O&Ms to streamline operations, and help accelerate the scale-up of renewable energy to reach Net Zero emissions.”
Aerones already works with nine of the world’s ten largest wind companies, including Siemens Gamesa, Enel, GE and Vestas, and has now serviced over 3000 wind turbines in 17 countries across North and South America as well as Europe.
Francisco J. Valle, Wind Innovation Product Owner at Enel Green Power, emphasized: “only improvements and the introduction of disruptive activities can provide us with the competitive advantages that will enable us to maintain our wind energy business and provide new sustainable solutions for our activities.
The innovation that we are introducing thanks to an agreement with Aerones will lead to more responsible production through innovative advances that improve the development of one of the most widespread renewable energy in the world: wind.”
Long-term service agreements with these industry leaders validate Aerones’ competitive differentiation in the market. Aerones’ business has grown more than tenfold in Q1 year-on-year, despite the unfavorable Covid-19 context.
“We are rapidly scaling up operations in terms of robots and service teams in the field. This funding enables us to continue our rapid growth and prepare for our Series A funding round later this year, ” explains Aerones’s CEO and co-founder Dainis Kruze.
As the world invests in decarbonisation and sustainable energy, wind energy offers a cost-effective and domestic solution. As the pace of new wind developments accelerates exponentially by 2030 (4x for onshore and 15x for offshore wind), the $30B global wind turbine operation and maintenance market is projected to double.
Aerones’ expansion is rooted in the company’s focus on R&D and engineering. Their core technology is a unique and patented computerized winch system that controls a high-precision robotic arm.
The company provides services like leading edge repair, detailed external inspections, data analysis, lightning protection system tests, NDT ultrasound inspections, drainage hole cleaning as well as blade cleaning, de-icing and coating applications – all of which can be controlled remotely.
“We are constantly developing new robotic solutions to address our customers’ needs and expand our suite of services,” said co-founder and CTO Janis Putrams, “as an example, we recently released an internal inspection robot that crawls and scans inside wind turbine blades and provides digital twin inspection data with unprecedented detail, and a cleaning solution that removes dirt and oil from turbine towers and blades very effectively.”