17th Oct, 2021

Cash boost for Coventry drone firm Skyfarer which is Minerva Business Angels’ 100th investment

A DRONE logistics operator conducting ground-breaking trials to deliver medical supplies between hospitals in the West Midlands has become Minerva Business Angels’ 100th investment.

Skyfarer’s revolutionary scheme could reduce waiting times for medicine and reduce traffic congestion and consequently CO2 emissions.

It came to the Minerva Business Angels, part of the University of Warwick Science Park, seeking investment to support the trials and its growth.

Minerva, with its network of angel investors across the country, has been operating since 2010, supplying more than £40million of investment.

Skyfarer was set up by Elliot Parnham, who studied aerospace engineering at Coventry University, and initially started as a drone manufacturer, before switching to operations, looking at the systems and technology involved in drone flying for commercial uses.

The company has worked with various partners on developing the trials this summer, including Aston University, unmanned traffic management system provider Altitude Angel, FlyPulse, a Swedish flight management system innovator, and Coventry University’s Centre for Connected and Autonomous Automotive Research (CCAAR).

Skyfarer not only received support from Minerva Business Angels but also the Business Ready Team, based with Minerva at the University of Warwick Science Park.

Elliot’s original plan for the business was to manufacture drones based on the work he had undertaken at Coventry University and a project he had completed that was part of the Institute of Mechanical Engineers UAS challenge.

However the company took a pivot when it found there was a market for a business that brought together all of the systems, the technology and the planning required to make the use of drones commercially viable.

Working with the NHS and others, the company specialises in making drone delivery possible, reducing the time it takes to move critical medical supplies to where they are needed urgently.

Elliot said the investment from Minerva was vital to the project getting this far.

“Without the support from Minerva we would not be able to progress our innovation into a feasible business model that provides significant operational benefits to the NHS and society in general.”

If successful, the delivery of medical blood and pathology samples by drone, rather than by vans at present, could bring a 97 per cent saving on CO2 emissions.

It could also significantly reduce waiting times for medical supplies.

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