German drone delivery pioneer Wingcopter has announced the signing of a strategic partnership agreement with ITOCHU Corporation. ITOCHU joins Wingcopter's Authorized Partnership Program (WAPP) and will act as a dedicated distributor and lessor for the Wingcopter 198, Wingcopter's new eVTOL delivery drone, in Japan. On top, the Japanese conglomerate also decided to make a strategic investment in Wingcopter. With an annual trading revenue of USD 93 billion, ITOCHU is one of the largest Japanese general trading companies (sogo shosha), employing 125,000 employees worldwide.
The WAPP is Wingcopter's global network of strategic partners. Authorized partners include drone operators, resellers, and agents that are trained and allowed to operate, promote, lease, and distribute the Wingcopter 198 technology in their respective region. In late 2021, Wingcopter had announced business aviation specialist SYNERJET Corp as an Authorized Partner for Latin America. The partnership with ITOCHU further strengthens Wingcopter's expansion in Japan, one of the most important markets for drone delivery in the future, given the country's progressive approach to integrating drones into everyday life. Based on a steadily growing number of partnership requests, Wingcopter is looking to onboard more partners, continuously expanding Wingcopter's reach throughout the world. For further information see the IDTechEx report on Drone Market and Industries 2021-2041.
Takanori Morita, Executive Officer of ITOCHU and CEO of ITOCHU Europe PLC, through which ITOCHU has made the investment, comments: "Drone delivery has the potential to revolutionize how we transport goods, and it can immediately improve the quality of life for many people across the globe. We believe Wingcopter is best positioned to become the market leader in this field with its superb product as well as capable and dedicated team. Ever since our establishment in 1858, Itochu's corporate mission has been the spirit of "Sampo-Yoshi". "Sampo-Yoshi" means "good for the seller", "good for the buyer" and "good for society", and Wingcopter's business epitomises this spirit. We are honoured to become a shareholder of Wingcopter as well as its Authorized Partner in Japan. Together with Wingcopter and its stakeholders, we look forward to a great journey with a product that will make a positive difference to people's lives."
"We expect Japan to become one of the most important regions for drone delivery applications in the upcoming years. Therefore, we are convinced that ITOCHU, with the network and expertise in a huge variety of business sectors as well as the financial power of a Fortune Global 500 company, will help us serve more Japanese customers and allow us to jointly scale Wingcopter's operations across Japan," adds Tom Plümmer, Co-Founder and CEO of Wingcopter.
ITOCHU joins existing investors SYNERJET, DRONE FUND, Expa, Xplorer Capital, Futury Capital, Hessen Kapital III, and Corecam Capital Partners.
Wingcopter is a German manufacturer of eVTOL, fixed-wing unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) and provider of drone delivery services, focused on optimizing medical supply chains, as well as last-mile logistics of packages, tools, spare parts, food, and groceries. The 120-strong team is dedicated to improving and saving lives worldwide through meaningful commercial and humanitarian applications. Thanks to its patented tilt-rotor mechanism and software algorithms, the Wingcopter 198 can take off and land vertically like a multicopter, while flying long distances as efficiently and quickly as a fixed-wing aircraft, even in heavy rain and wind. In 2020, Wingcopter was named a Technology Pioneer by the World Economic Forum. Wingcopter's investors include Xplorer Capital, Futury Capital, ITOCHU, DRONE FUND, SYNERJET, Expa, Hessen Kapital III, and Corecam Capital Partners. Find out more at www.wingcopter.com or on Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.
About ITOCHU CORPORATION
ITOCHU, one of the leading sogo shosha, is engaging in domestic trading, import/export, and overseas trading of various products such as textile, machinery, metals, minerals, energy, chemicals, food, general products, realty, information and communications technology, and finance, as well as business investment in Japan and overseas, with approximately 100 bases in 62 countries.
Source and top image: Wingcopter