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Drone tech company secures £30k funding

BetaDen cohort 3 member DronePrep has secured £30,000 funding to develop software that helps drone operators – from hobby flyers to commercial drone pilots – understand low-level airspace interactions and seek necessary landowner and land-based stakeholder permissions to fly.

DronePrep, which joined the Malvern-based technology accelerator in August, is working with landowners to open up low-level airspace for drone flights. It is part of a consortia that also recently secured £8 million funding from Government to trial drone deliveries of critical PPE and Covid-19 testing kits between Southampton and the Isle of Wight, and to connect multiple GP surgeries along the south coast. DronePrep is leading a consortia that has been awarded additional Government funding to create a drone airbridge and carry Covid-19 testing kits to vulnerable rural communities in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

Claire Owen, co-founder of DronePrep, said: “Securing the maximum proof of concept funding is fantastic news for our business and allows us to move to the next stage of development in earnest.

“We launched our BETA platform earlier this year to help us connect with our community and listen to their feedback. Having validated the market, we can now embark on the full software build, which will offer increased functionality such as land ownership data, drawing tools and drone-access policies, helping drone operators – from recreational enthusiasts to professional and enterprise drone operators – plan compliant flight paths and envelopes.”

DronePrep’s mission is to inform the drone industry and recreational pilots where they can and can’t fly and to allow engagement between landowners and the drone community. Its vision is to create a platform that defines where it is possible to deliver drone highways in the sky.

Gareth Whatmore, co-founder of DronePrep, added: “Through our work in the field, we’ve developed a unique data set that will be invaluable when it comes to helping drone operators plan delivery routes quickly and efficiently.

“The new software will be developed by secure software specialists Borwell, with a target launch date of Spring 2021.”

Linda Smith, founder and CEO of BetaDen, said: “Securing the maximum proof of concept grant is a fantastic milestone for DronePrep. The team is developing a truly innovative platform that looks set to play a key role developing drone infrastructure around the world.

“By combing their work with land owners with practical experience in the field, the team has developed a clear vision of how the platform can add real value to the sector, identifying key applications and issues that will shape its development.

“We’re excited by their progress and look forward to helping them accelerate their route to market.”

BetaDen recently opened applications for its fourth cohort of businesses, focusing on companies developing new and emerging technologies in six key areas: 5G, Industry 4.0, Security by Design, Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence and Robotics.

Cohort 4 members will have access to a programme of support worth around £50,000, including access to Worcestershire’s 5G testbed, a £10,000 proof of concept grant, mentoring from BetaDen’s handpicked team of commercial and technology experts, office space in Malvern Hills Science Park and guidance from industry expertise partner Steatite, part of Solid State PLC.

As well as early-stage businesses, it also creates opportunities for established businesses to develop technology within the accelerator, effectively supporting in-house R&D activity. Applications for Cohort 4 close on Friday 8 January 2021. For further information, visit www.beta-den.com/apply-now/

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