Caijing, a financial news magazine, reported today that TechStone (点石航空), a domestic manufacturer of engines for small-sized aircraft, has completed a Series A round of funding valued at 20 million yuan (US$2.82 million), invested by Richland Capital.
The proceeds will be used to finalize the design of a 550kg turboprop engine, facilitate R&D of new products and construct a manufacturing plant.
Founded in February 2021 in Taicang, a prefecture-level city governed by Suzhou, TechStone specializes in developing engines for smaller aircraft.
Its founder and CEO, Dr. Ding Jianguo, was a veteran engineer with Aero Engine Corporation of China. The startup’s other core members also worked there before and had a track record in developing aero engines.
According to estimates, in the next 10 years, the world market for aero engines will reach US$500 billion. Engines for small aircraft will represent more than 80% of the total production worldwide and contribute over 50% of the overall revenue.
The 550kg turboprop engine developed by TechStone has taken into account concerns from a design, manufacturing, test and post-sale maintenance perspective — without compromising on the overall performance.
Its major metrics such as fuel economy, thrust-to-weight ratio and reliability have put it among the country’s best and made up for a lack of engines with a similar thrust.
Smaller-sized aircraft have been widely adopted in national defense, agriculture, forestry, fire fighting and express delivery. Nonetheless, the matching power system has been in short supply, restricting the expansion of the industry.
Therefore, developing high-performance turboprop and turbofan engines is a trend in high-end manufacturing, for they can considerably boost the capacity and range of small-sized aircraft.
According to TechStone, supersonic target drone, cruise missile and drone manufacturers at home have strong demand for 550kg turboprop engines, and have approached the firm with tech consultations and purchase intentions.
“TechStone will continue to uphold the vision of ‘supplying Chinese-made engines for small aircraft’ and commit itself to the independent research and development of turboprop, turbofan and other aero engines tailored to small aircraft.”
“TechStone focuses on the development of high-performance turboprop and turbofan engines with a thrust of 500 kg and higher,” said Cheng Yong, founding partner at Richland Capital. “Its technologies lead the industry in criteria such as altitude, speed and range and will have wide application in a myriad of industries.”