Enschede-based startup Clear Flight Solutions has raised €2.6 million from AERIUM Analytics Inc. and existing investor Cottonwood Euro Technology Fund. This investment, the first close of a Series B investment of €6 million will be partly used to boost the company’s expansion in North America. The startup states that significant investments will also be made to further the development of the Robird 3.0, a fully autonomous version of the well-known robotic bird called Robird, the company’s backbone product line.
Founded in 2012 Clear Flight Solutions (CFS) has built a solution to a problem that goes unnoticed by most, unless you’re working for an airport for instance (or you’re a tech reporter). Birds at airports are a big problem. Worldwide the (property) damage birds inflict run into billions of dollars and can in some instances cause dangerous situations. In the US, between 1990 and 2013 the aviation industry suffered 142.000 so-called bird strikes, which happens when a bird or flock collides with an airplane. These bird strikes destroyed 62 planes by breaking or bending engine blades, injured 279 people and killed 25.
Other areas that are confronted with bird strikes are harbours, oil and gas drilling platforms and windfarms. CFS has built falcon and eagle like drones that work based on a simple premise: because other birds perceive Robirds as predators, they will instinctively avoid their hunting ground. Or in other words, they will flee for their life.
CFS is currently active at major international airports, such as the Edmonton International Airport in Canada. The company is also working on protecting birds in the Oil Sands region of Canada, and over the last two years has run an extensive bird control operation on a major offshore project of Van Oord, one of the world’s largest dredging companies.
“This investment comes at a perfect time”, says Nico Nijenhuis, CEO of Clear Flight Solutions in an announcement about the funding. “As a company we have reached major milestones this year. Our revenue is rapidly growing and has well surpassed the €1M threshold this year. This next round of investments shows trust and offers us the opportunity to continue our expansion and the ambition of making airports safer, and protect nature.”
For Ray Quintana, General Partner of Cottonwood Euro Technology Fund CFS was his first investment since he opened office in Europe in 2014. Quintana: “We want to further commit to and show our confidence in the company through this follow-up investment. Cottonwood is very excited to play a part in the continued growth and success of Clear Flight Solutions.”
“AERIUM’s investment into Clear Flight Solutions shows support to the growth of this service and technology throughout North America and our commitment to the growing partnership between AERIUM Analytics and Clear Flight Solutions,” says Richard Hawker, President of AERIUM Analytics.
Photo by James Padolsey on Unsplash