Updated: Oct 13, 2020
The ETH Zurich spin off, Voliro, is developing the next generation autonomous flying robots, which have the capability to tilt their rotors in any direction. The omnidirectional platform is able to approach, touch and interact with its environment, thereby expanding the abilities of drones from “flying and seeing” to “flying, seeing and touching". With its technology, Voliro is targeting applications such as contact-based inspection of infrastructure, painting, coating and cleaning missions that are too dangerous, costly or time-consuming for humans. Several successful pilots have already been carried out and projects from large corporations have been secured. With the funds from its seed round, the company will continue to enhance technology, expand the fleet and achieve further growth through a strong sales team.
"Drones overall will be more impactful than I think people recognize, in positive ways to help society" - Bill Gates
Physical maintenance work at altitude is not only complex, time-consuming and expensive, but also causes over 30,000 deaths worldwide each year.
With the self-developed technology for an omni-directional, flying robot, Voliro enables the deployment of drones for work at height. Thanks to its technology, Voliro's robots can perform contact-based and close-to-structure operations and thus offer a wide range of work applications such as non-destructive testing, spraying and coating or cleaning. The use of drones is simpler, faster, cheaper and does not cost human lives.
BUSINESS MODEL & FINANCIALS
Voliro offers the whole system for a fixed annual subscription fee (includes software, upgrades of the system and cloud-based reporting solution) plus charges its clients for every object inspected. The company managed to sign contracts with clients such as Bouyges Energies & Services and run pilots with corporations such as Holcim or Sika. With the funding, the company mainly aims to invest more in its engineering team, prototyping and equipment but also in its sales team to start scaling up and gaining awareness. An early adaptor program for selected customers is set for Q3 2020 to obtain relevant customer feedback. The launch of the non-destructive testing drone is set for Q2 2021. Voliro expects to break-even in 2023 after gaining traction in 2022.
The drone services market was valued at USD 4.4bn in 2019 and is projected to reach USD 63.6bn by 2025, at a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 55.9% from 2019 to 2025. Increasing use of drone services for industry-specific solutions, improvised regulatory frameworks and increased requirement for qualitative data in various industries are factors contributing to that growth.
Main competitors – aerial robot/drone technology and currently active in similar fields of applications: Appelix (US), Terra Inspectioneering (NL), Skygauge (CA), Air Control Entech (SCT)
Today’s CEO Mina Kamel and CTO Timo Müller started in 2016 with the development of Voliro’s technology in the labs of ETH Zurich. Now the team counts 8 fulltime employees combining over 30 years of experience in robotics. A strong advisory board including Christian Wenger (Partner at Wenger & Vieli), Roger Wüthrich-Hasenböhler (CDO at Swisscom) and Matthias Bichsel (Former Executive at Royal Dutch Shell) stands behind the start-up.
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