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MightyFly gains backing for larger cargo drones
Wednesday, 21 April 2021
MightyFly says its cargo carrier will fly faster and at lower-cost than rival systems, and requires no airport infrastructure. It could be a leapfrog technology for rural and lesser developed regions of the world.

MightyFly, an autonomous air cargo carrier, announced that it has closed $5.1 million in seed funding. The round includes investments from 500 Startups, At One Ventures, Global Founders Capital, Graph Ventures, and Halogen Ventures. The funding will be used to expand hiring, scale up MightyFly's fleet, and build the infrastructure required to support a global network of hubs.

"MightyFly marries economies of scale with autonomy to completely disrupt logistics, making quick, cost-efficient, and carbon-neutral cargo accessible to all businesses and all areas," says MightyFly co-founder and CEO Manal Habib. MightyFly is the only female-led drone company designing and manufacturing its own drones to operate a logistics service. "For me, aerospace is more than a profession, it's a passion—and a way to transform lives for the better. Since I was a child, I've dreamt of the possibilities to advance human civilisation through the power of flight. Today, I'm making it happen."

The MightyFly MF-100 is a hybrid-electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft with a cargo capacity of 100 lbs., cruising speed of 150 mph, and range of 600 miles. It is approximately the size of a midsize car. A larger aircraft with a cargo capacity of 500 lbs. is planned. MightyFly aircraft are capable of making multiple deliveries during the same flight.

"MightyFly's range and payload are unprecedented in the expedited delivery space today. Most existing delivery platforms carry much lighter payloads much shorter distances. While many traditional carriers are slowly moving toward carbon-neutral and autonomous delivery, MightyFly is ready to take off. They have the ability to change how business is done," says John Formisano, a retired FedEx executive, formerly VP of Global Vehicles, and advisor to MightyFly.

Safety is the first priority at MightyFly. The aircraft are built to the same standards as every commercial airplane in the sky and designed for double redundancy across all systems, with a failure tolerance that is even better than manned systems. MightyFly aircraft will broadcast Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) in and out and will be in communication with Unmanned Aircraft System Traffic Management (UTM), as well as MightyFly's own tower. Every MightyFly flight is supervised 24/7 by a human remote operator.

The MightyFly MF-100 has received a Special Airworthiness Certificate from the FAA, and test flights are being performed in California. The company aims to achieve FAA Part 135 certification, and airworthiness certifications in other markets, like Australia and Asia.

"We believe MightyFly will open up a whole new era in logistics with their long-range, high-capacity cargo aircraft. And we are even more excited to back them because we believe Manal and Scott will be the people to bring us that future," says Tim Chae, Managing Partner at 500 Startups.

MighyFly was founded by Habib and co-founder Scott Parker. The two met while working at Zipline (Habib led flight controls and Parker was a senior mechanical engineer) but realised a need for a larger autonomous aircraft with a greater cargo capacity.

"MightyFly is creating a capability that is well positioned to disrupt the landscape of expedited logistics. Compared to existing alternatives, it is faster, lower-cost, and requires no airport infrastructure, all while being carbon neutral. It could also potentially be a leapfrog technology for rural and lesser developed regions of the world. At One Ventures is incredibly excited to be supporting this team in their mission," says At One Ventures Managing Partner Tom Chi.

Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, the company is currently expanding its hiring to further the development of its fleet and is seeking business partnerships for proof-of-concept delivery service operations.

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MightyFly Airframer
Related aircraft programs:
MightyFly MF-100