Boeing HorizonX leads $16 million investment in Matternet

Boeing’s venture capital fund, Boeing HorizonX Ventures, has led a $16 million investment in Californian drone firm Matternet.

Matternet, which runs a platform for on-demand aerial-delivery services, will use the funding to expand its US and global autonomous drone deliveries. HorizonX’s managing director Brian Schettler was the partner on the venture round.

The other investors consist of Levitate Capital, the Sony Innovation Fund and Swiss Post. Swiss Post was represented by the company’s investment director of corporate venturing Olivier Laplace.

Mr Schettler said: “Matternet’s technology and proven track record make the development of a safe, global, autonomous air-mobility system a near-term reality,” said

“Between the company’s success in Switzerland and being selected by the FAA to test unmanned aerial networks in the U.S., we are excited to work together to reimagine how the world connects and to shape the next generation of transportation solutions.”

This investment follows from an initial $9.5 million seed funding round in 2016 led by Silicon Valley angel investor Andreessen Horowitz. Car manufacturer Daimler also contributed to the seed round a year prior to it leading a €25 million venture round for VTOL manufacturer Volocopter.

Matternet founder and CEO Andreas Raptopoulos said: “We are excited to partner with Boeing, the pioneers of safe commercial aviation, to make this new mode of transport mainstream. As we expand Matternet’s U.S. and global operations, we will work with Boeing to make next-generation aerial logistics networks a reality and transform our everyday lives.”

So far in 2018, Matternet has launched a permanent healthcare drone operation in Switzerland, has partnered with Mercedes-Benz Vans and is participating in the FAA’s unmanned air system (UAS) integration pilot program (IPP).

Matternet was one of a small number of companies to be selected to carry out drone logistics operations for U.S. hospitals as part of the FAA IPP. Matternet will provide on-demand transport of lab samples and medical items between hospital facilities at UC San Diego Health in San Diego and WakeMed Health and Hospitals in North Carolina.