Daedalean raises CHF11.8 million in new venture round



Image taken from Daedalean’s landing guidance system

Image taken from Daedalean’s landing guidance system

Autonomous-flight software start-up Daedalean AI has raised approximately CHF11.8 million ($11.8 million) in its recent venture capital round.

The funding round was led by returning Australian lender Carthona Capital with Swiss VC investment firm Redalpine, Californian accelerator Amino Capital and with three unspecified “business angels” also contributing.

The Swiss company was founded 2016 by Anna Chernova and Luuk van Dijk – two ex-Google engineers.

Daedalean’s mission statement is to build and certify fully autonomous flight systems that can pass all current criteria required of human pilots. This new funding will be used to test and launch the systems and continue the firm’s certification campaign both with the EASA and the FAA.

Van Dijk, founder and CEO said: “With the worldwide system of civil aviation working at the limits of its capacity already, and with shortages of human pilots and air traffic controllers already impacting the scalability of flight today, a future with small, safe and silent personal air taxis is simply infeasible without full autonomy.

“As we demonstrated on our recent flight tests with Volocopter and other partners, Daedalean is well on its way to developing the needed capabilities.”

Daedalean received its first grant from the EU Executive Agency for SMEs (EASME) for €50K. According to Crunchbase figures, Daedalean opened its first venture round in December 2017 with the Swiss ICT Investor Club and Carthona Capital leading the CHF6 million round. The amount invested is not specified.

The funding round follows Daedalean’s recent partnership with German eVTOL start-up Volocopter. As part of the agreement, Daedalean tested its situational awareness system on board one of Volcopter’s prototype eVTOL air taxis. The tests demonstrated environmental perception capabilities for visual navigation and collision detection both in landing and in flight.

Volcopter – which promises fully autonomous capability on the production model of its eVTOL – tested Daedalean’s system in several scenarios, including aborted take-off and landing, flight trajectory reconstruction, hazard detection and terrain analysis.

Many experimental aircraft are promising to be ‘fully autonomous ready’ and are looking towards the developing autonomous car market for inspiration, despite the technology being in very early stages of development in the aviation space. The reason, Daedalean explains, is that if or when air taxi services take off en masse above cities, the number of aircraft in the airspace will require advanced autonomy to safely operate.

Funding history:

Funding Type: Grant

Date: 1 September 2017

Cash Raised: €50K (USD equivalent at time –

Lead Investor: EASME


Funding Type: Venture Round

Date: 22 December 2017

Cash Raised: CHF6 million

Lead Investor: SICTIC


Funding Type: Venture Round

Date: 29 July 2019

Cash Raised: CHF11.8 million

Lead Investor: Cathona Capital