Swoop Aero, the aeromedical logistics company, has closed a Series A funding round with returning investors Right Click Capital and Tempus Partners, following a year of continued global momentum.

While terms of the funding and the valuation were not released, Swoop Aero posted revenue growth of approximately 50 per cent quarter-on-quarter for the last 18 months, although Which-50 has confirmed it was an 8 figure amount.

The homegrown startup will use the latest capital injection to scale its impact from millions to tens of millions as they aim to provide one hundred million people with better access to healthcare by 2025.

Swoop Aero will establish a presence in Australia and New Zealand, as well as expand its service offering across the medical logistics space. The funding will also serve to certify its aviation systems for operations over urban areas which will help the business come closer to their goal.

The company most recently began drone operations delivering medical supplies in Malawi with its pilots in South Africa and then subsequently from Australia due to heightened COVID-19 travel restrictions.

According to Eric Peck, CEO and co-founder of Swoop Aero, “As COVID-19 has shown, problems with access to much-needed healthcare supplies are consistent across the globe, even in developed countries like Australia, where pathology tests take days to arrive if they arrive at all.

Laser focus

“We’re laser-focused on further developing our service offering in ANZ and expanding operations so that more people can access vital services. We can’t imagine a future where drone transport isn’t a universally critical component of the health supply chain,” said a Swoop Aero spokesperson.

“In recent weeks we have seen the Australian government demonstrate their desire to put innovation back on the agenda. One of the biggest lessons from the pandemic is the need to remove the red tape which limited our capacity as a nation to respond as quickly as we could have, with a self-distancing solution to deliver life-saving medicines, and early testing kits.”

The company said it has formally provided a recommendation to the government inquiry into COVID-19 that the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) prioritise domestic healthcare-related aviation applications during and after the pandemic in order to enable a more effective national response and to build more resilience across the health supply chain.

“As Swoop Aero expands into more regions across the globe, and collaborates closer with industry and governments around the world, and in Australia, we’re thrilled to have the continued support of Right Click Capital and Tempus Partners at this vital stage of the business.”

Since its launch in 2017, Swoop Aero says it has established operations in five countries through partnerships with global health leaders including UNICEF, UKAid and DFID, impacting over two million people.

World first

It claims it recently became the first company in the world to remotely pilot commercially used drones from another country, when delivering PPE and critical supplies in Malawi during the COVID-19 pandemic, whilst piloting the aircraft from Australia.

Since the onset of the pandemic, in Malawi alone, Swoop Aero has tripled its fleet following a rapid increase in network utilisation due to a 300 per cent increase of samples carried between March and April.

With its sights firmly set on establishing a presence in ANZ, Swoop Aero has most recently begun working with the Civil Aviation Authority of New Zealand to achieve requisite Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) approvals to transport pathology tests and samples locally via the air.

The company has already been working closely with the Australian government and the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) to slash red tape and enable aeromedical logistics services to be expanded across the country.

In Australia alone, five per cent of pathology test samples are lost due to inefficient delivery methods, and often take up to a few weeks to return results. Using aeromedical drone logistics to transport medicines, pathology tests and samples, reduces chances of lost tests and improves turnaround times , enabling communities in urban, rural and remote areas faster, on-demand access to testing and supplies.

Garry Visontay, Partner at Right Click Capital, said, “Their technical achievements are remarkable for such a young company, combining both deep aviation understanding and mechatronic systems expertise to develop a world-leading autonomous aviation system.”

“Swoop is a great reminder that the best founders don’t stop during difficult times. We’re excited to continue backing Eric and Josh in their Series A, and their mission to deliver Swoop Aero’s vision,” said Alister Coleman, Founder and Managing Partner at Tempus.

“We invested in Swoop Aero at the Seed stage and over the last 12 months have seen the team move from strength to strength. Swoop has successfully executed drone networks in countries that need it most.”

He added, “But this logistical challenge isn’t limited to developing nations; Australia has its own challenges and is where Swoop could become a massive asset. We are not far from a future where networks of healthcare drones will ferry urgent supplies, pathology and medicine between hospitals and healthcare clinics in both developed and developing economies.”

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