Euro VC firm invests $8M into Michigan drone inspection service

By Luke Geiver | January 17, 2018

A German-based venture capital group has invested in a Michigan drone service firm. Statkfraft Ventures, along with UL Ventures and Capital Midwest, has infused SkySpecs with an $8 million round of series B financing.

SkySpecs specializes in performing 15-minute automated drone inspections of wind towers for wind farm owners, ISPs and OEMs. In 2017, the company inspected 3,600 turbines across 70 different wind farms located in both the U.S. and Europe. Some of the inspections also took place in offshore wind farms.

“SkySpecs is a great example of the type of investment that we are looking to make,” said Alvin Vitangcol of Midwest Capital. “it is a Midwest team that has developed technology to solve a problem in an industrial market—uniquely addressing the inspection challenges in wind energy—and has been proven through adoption by significant customers.”

Statkfraft added SkySpecs to its portfolio due to its role in the energy sector. The team has also invested in a solar energy and storage company, a virtual power plant software developer, a software developer working on utilities, a power grid monitoring firm and a smart thermostat maker.

“We consider automation and standardization of O&M-related tasks the next big challenge in cost competition after hardware costs for renewable energy assets have dropped significantly over the last years,” said Alexander Kueppers, investment manager for Statkraft. “SkySpecs is the fastest growing inspection company in the wind sector, making rotor blade inspections more precise and safe while keeping operations at a lower cost compared to traditional methods. Their technological expertise combined with scalable operations is the key to grow the business worldwide.”

According to SkySpecs, the series B financing money will be used to expand international operations and to further develop software that utilizes data collected from the drones.