The female-led drone company MightyFly has raised $5.1 million of seed funding to scale hiring and production of its eVTOL aircraft. Meanwhile, the FAA has already granted the startup a special airworthiness certificate to allow for conducting test flights of its hybrid-electric MF-100. Ultimately, MightFly’s mission is to provide “rapid and Efficient Access to Goods via Autonomous Cargo Aircraft.”
The funding round includes investments from 500 Startups, At One Ventures, Global Founders Capital, Graph Ventures, and Halogen Ventures. The funding will be used to expand hiring, scale up MightyFly’s fleet, and build the infrastructure required to support a global network of hubs.
The MightyFly MF-100 is a hybrid-electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft with a cargo capacity of 100 lbs, cruising speed of 150 mph, and range of 600 miles. It is approximately the size of a midsize car, though a larger aircraft with a cargo capacity of 500 lbs. is planned. MightyFly aircraft are capable of making multiple deliveries during the same flight via a door in the nose section, and cargo will be switched in and out of the MF-100 aircraft using a conveyor belt-like system. The cargo transfer stations will be as close as possible to final addresses for deliveries with the actual “last mile” sector being completed, eventually, in electric autonomous ground vehicles. Customers are expected to include existing logistics providers, retail outlets, and medical services.
According to cofounder and CEO Manal Habib, while there is a growing demand for expedited deliveries, the current business model doesn’t work because to be profitable it depends on each truck and aircraft being almost fully loaded. MightyFly’s objective is to make its entire operation autonomous, with a small team supervising flights and transfers remotely.
The aircraft will also be equipped with automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B) In and Out, as well as communicate with the unmanned aircraft system traffic management network and MightyFly’s own 24/7 control center. The MightyFly MF-100 has received a Special Airworthiness Certificate from the FAA, and test flights are being performed in California. The company aims to achieve FAA Part 135 certification, and airworthiness certifications in other markets, like Australia and Asia.
Why it’s important: To quote At One Ventures Managing Partner Tom Chi, “MightyFly is creating a capability that is well positioned to disrupt the landscape of expedited logistics. Compared to existing alternatives, it is faster, lower-cost, and requires no airport infrastructure, all while being carbon neutral. It could also potentially be a leapfrog technology for rural and lesser developed regions of the world. At One Ventures is incredibly excited to be supporting this team in their mission.”
Source // MightyFly press release