Toronto and Hamilton-based drone startup Skygauge Robotics has declared the closure of its $3.3 million CAD seed funding round that was held in October 2020 and was led by BDC Capital’s Industrial Innovation Venture Fund. Other investors include RiSC Capital, SOSV (through the HAX accelerator) and Hello Ventures. Following the investment, Guillaume Mercier, (partner with the Industrial Innovation Venture Fund), Dave Kroetsch, (founder and former CEO at Aeryon Labs) and John Bowles (CEO at Inversa Systems) are all set to join Skygauge Robotics’ board.
The latest investment brings the startup’s total funding to $3.8 million CAD.
Proceeds from the funding round will be utilized by the startup in immediately scaling up its recruitment process in response to amplified demand during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Founded in 2016 by Nikita Iliushkin, Linar Ismagilov, and Maksym Korol, Skygauge has built drones for industrial applications, meant to reduce the time involved during inspections while improving operator safety by preventing them from working at extreme heights. Its drone design empowers it to make direct contact with pipes, pressure vessels, and storage containers at varying angles to detect cracks under the surface with sensors during inspections that are usually performed by workers on ropes and scaffolding. The startup claims its drones can reduce time on site by 80 percent.
CEO Nikita Iliushkin said that the startup’s vision is to use its platform to create a workforce in the sky. He also said that the co-founders established Skygauge in 2016 when they observed an absence of design innovation in the drone industry. The industry mostly has drones taking pictures and videos for data collection and these drones are not stable enough to do more physical work. Hence, they invented a new way for drones to fly. Furthermore, he added that the COVID-19 pandemic and a surge in demand for remote work opportunities has led to a rise in interest in the startup’s product globally.
The drone designed by Skygauge features an original thrust-vectoring design, which allows the drone to move with “six degrees of freedom,” said Iliushkin. He reported that once the startup fortifies its position in the inspection market, it plans on escalating its drone technology into physical occupations like painting, spraying, pressure washing, drilling, paint removal, high-rise window washing, welding, and general construction.
Skygauge’s current team consists only of the three founders and it is currently in the process of adding 8 members to its team. The startup is looking to hire 6 engineers, a business developer, and an office manager.
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