Natilus, a Richmond, Calif-based manufacturer of large aircraft drones, closed a second round of seed funding of undisclosed amount.
Backers included Starburst Ventures, Seraph Group, Gelt VC, Outpost Capital and Draper Associates.
The company intends to use the funds to scale its development efforts, with the first Federal Aviation Administration-approved flight for its 30-foot prototype scheduled for late 2017, and a commercial market launch in 2020.
Founded in 2014 led by Aleksey Matyushev, CEO, Natilus manufactures large unmanned cargo aircraft which introduce a cost-effective way to transport goods worldwide. The large-scale drones will be comprised of carbon fiber composites while using existing turbofan and turboprop engines, scaling to a long-term vision of 950,000-pound airplanes carrying 120 tons over trans-Pacific routes. Its next vehicle, a 12,000-pound drone capable of carrying 2 tons over 1000 nautical miles, will feature retractable landing gear and will be capable of taking off and landing at local regional airports.