HyLight Paris-based Startup Secures €3.7 million Investment in Hydrogen-powered Drones

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HyLight, a trailblazer in aerial inspection utilizing hydrogen airship drones, has announced the successful completion of a €3.7 million funding round, with backing from prominent VCs and business angels including Y Combinator, Ring Capital, Kima Ventures, Collaborative Fund, and Marc Tarpenning, co-founder of Tesla. The objective? To drive the decarbonization of aerial inspection.

This investment will empower the French Y Combinator alumni to expedite the deployment of its airship drones on an industrial scale, offering the inaugural zero-emission solution capable of inspecting diverse infrastructure types from above—be it power lines, gas pipelines, railways, and more. Finally, industries seeking aerial data collection will have access to a decarbonized, cost-effective, and efficient solution.

With these €3.7 million, HyLight is poised to achieve three pivotal milestones. Firstly, it will facilitate the execution of its inaugural large-scale operations, bolstering the expansion of its strategic partnerships and consolidating its market position. Furthermore, the funds will enable the recruitment of additional experts across various domains, including aviation regulation, embedded systems, hydrogen systems, mechanical engineering, industrialization, and software development.

Martin Bocken, CEO of HyLight, said: “This round of financing is a decisive milestone for HyLight. It allows us to realize our vision of providing large-scale infrastructure inspection in a decarbonized and highly precise manner. With the support of our investors, we are ready to redefine the standards of industrial inspection and meet growing environmental and regulatory requirements.“

On our world, there are 80 million kilometers of energy infrastructure. That is equivalent to 200 times Earth’s distance from the Moon. These pipelines and power lines are essential pieces of infrastructure that enable society to operate as intended. For this reason, in order to guarantee their proper functioning and stop failures, they need to be inspected on a regular basis—sometimes even several times a month. Today’s infrastructure operators, however, find it difficult to carry out thorough, precise inspections.
Industry professionals have traditionally had to use technologies that were either too expensive and environmentally harmful (helicopters), too imprecise (drone planes and satellites), or not autonomous enough to fly (quadricopter drones) in order to handle these issues.

HyLight’s hydrogen-powered blimp allows for the emission-free collection of ultra-precise data over vast regions, while also significantly lowering inspection expenses (GHGs).
The company has also joined the University of California, Berkeley’s SkyDeck accelerator, as well as prestigious French accelerators like Wilco, Agoranov, the French Transport Innovation Agency’s Propulse program, and the EDHEC network through Générations, Ring Capital and EDHEC’s seed fund. High-profile investors and mentors like Abhishek Tripathi, the former launch director of SpaceX, and Marc Tarpenning, the co-founder of Tesla, support HyLight as well. Additionally, the startup has carried out a project with the biggest power line operator in Europe, Enedis. HyLight, which is backed by the IDF area, is also a winner of France 2030.

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