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Hot on the heels of securing R6.84-million ($499 000) in funding from local investors Glenheim Venture Capital Company, South African drone operator UAV Industries plans to expand into at least three neighbouring countries over the next 18 months.
The announcement of the deal was made yesterday by Glenheim Venture Capital Company, but was concluded three months ago.
Speaking to Ventureburn today, UAVI Industries chairman Peter Venn said he could not confirm the amount in equity taken by Glenheim, explaining that the figure is based on future deliverables such as turnover and profit.
Venn said the drone sector is a “highly regulated” environment and that it would take time for the startup — which he and his brother Ken started in 2014 — to conclude licenses in other countries.
The deal came about because Glenheim partner Louw Barnardt is also the chief executive of Outsourced CFO, which has been providing UAVI Industries with accounting assistance.
The highly regulated environment would mean it will take time for UAV Industries to conclude licenses in other countries
Commenting on the recent collision in Canada between an airliner and a drone, Venn pointed out that in South Africa there are hundreds of illegal operators but only “15 or 16” legal operators.
He said that while Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) rules governed commercial drone operators, there is nothing to stop illegal operators from flying drones. However drones are configured to not turn on near airports, he added.
In an earlier press release Glenheim Venture Capital Company said UAVI has managed to double its fixed monthly revenue since the investment was closed three months ago.
UAVI also recently entered the US market, following on the heels of a Glenheim Dinner that included senior US analysts and the new US Consul General.
The startup claims to be the largest drone training company and also operates drones for clients such as SA Rugby and the Stormers rugby team as well as clients in events, security and industrial inspections.
For example Venn said using drones mine companies can conclude a mine dump study which could take a day or two — in just 20 minutes — without putting any personnel at any risk.
Venn said most business came from pitching to companies and organisations which had never considered that drones can help cut costs and add value to their business.