Weizhi Aerospace (微至航空科技), a freight UAV manufacturer, has bagged tens of millions of yuan from an angel+ round of financing, Chinese tech media outlet 36Kr reported today.
The round was led by GSR Ventures, followed by CCV. Proceeds from this raise will be spent on talent recruitment, prototype iteration, production and testing.
The Beijing-based UAV startup is dedicated to the development of economical medium- and large-sized fixed-wing freight drones.
Its flagship product Macro series is positioned as the aerial variant of Wuling Hongguang, a popular, sturdy low-end compact MPV often used in the Chinese logistics industry.
The company closed its angel fundraiser backed by ZGC Capital Group in 2021.
Freight delivery has been a main application scenario of unmanned aircraft, with titans like SF Express (顺丰速运) and JD Group (京东集团) already competing in the game.
According to an estimate by Shenzhen’s drone association, by 2024, the domestic market for drones will hit 160 billion yuan (US$22.29 billion), of which 30 billion yuan is expected to go to logistics UAVs.
Take Macro, Weizhi Aerospace’s main product. It has a cabin storage space of over 5 cubic meters. Onloading and offloading of cargo is conducted with the aid of pallets.
Even when loaded to its capacity of 500kg, the aircraft has a range of 500km and a lift of 7km.
The Macro series is now undergoing verification tests and could be applied in a number of scenarios ranging from regional general aviation logistics to forest firefighting, and from emergency and disaster relief to plant protection.
According to Xu Chun, the company’s founder, chairman and CEO, Macro will become available in small batches and begin delivery in 2025.
He put the current demand for unmanned cargo planes at around 10,000 units.
The unmanned cargo drone built by Weizhi Aerospace adopts a dual-engine, dual-tail structure, taking into account various needs for regional line logistics, said an investor from GSR Ventures on a pseudonym basis.
These needs include load capacity, cost-effectiveness, stability, ease of loading and unloading as well as supply chain security.
“Its (Weizhi’s) products filled the void in the industry,” the investor added.