Sydney-based drone manufacturer Carbonix has raised $6.3 million in late seed funding to expand its services within Australia and North America.
Funding was led by defence and aerospace contractor Quickstep Holdings, which invested $1 million in the latest round.
Cockatoo Island-based Carbonix has also penned a new deal with AusGrid to monitor the electricity distributor’s power network on Australia’s east coast, and reduce its reliance on helicopters, following an international tender process.
Under the deal, AusGrid has purchased its Domani drone – Carbonix’s large power lift drone capable of carrying a payload of five kilograms – for long-range powerline inspections.
Director of Transformation at AusGrid, Steve Lewis said it will be used as the “centrepiece” of reducing and replacing tasks often completed with manned aircraft.
“They can give us comparable data to a helicopter, but with less disruption on the ground, lower cost, and a significantly smaller carbon footprint,” he said.
With its Drone-as-a-service (DaaS) offering, Carbonix assists companies to outsource their Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) needs.
With its new funding, Carbonix will look to increase its production and service offerings, as well as expand DaaS offerings into North America, after establishing its presence in the Australian market.
Founder and CTO Dario Valenza said, “My vision for Carbonix is to solve real-world problems with elegant technology.
“Closing this round will enable us to deliver commercially on the results of a dedicated development journey.”
CEO Stephen Pearce said that DaaS is a unique delivery model for “removing pain points associated with adopting aerial data solutions”.
The company will offer a bundle package – subscription based – that includes the UAV system, payload, training, maintenance and upgrades, compliance and insurance for the client.
The company has predominantly focused on providing these solutions to businesses and governments in Australia, partnered with Robotic Skies for overseas services, but will soon establish an international presence.
Quickstep CEO Mark Burgess said this would allow for the aerospace manufacturer to gain more exposure in the unmanned vehicle market.
“Quickstep contributes to the partnership a proven capability that will help Carbonix scale manufacturing, right here in Australia,” he added.
The Australian government has signaled the drone industry will accelerate in the next 20 years as the technology adopts many end-use applications.