We love this startup since we got to know it in April 2021. Applying the power of robotics to make the wind industry more efficient is a great idea. Our portfolio company Aerones raises $30M Series A led by Lightrock and Haniel with participation of new investor Blume Equity. Aerones is based in Riga (Latvia), develops and manufactures a family of smart robots and provides their robot-enabled services for the maintenance of wind turbines with a team of 200 employees to more than 100 customers in 20 countries including Vestas, GE, Siemens Gamesa, NextEra and Enel. The goal is to minimise downtime when wind turbines are inspected, cleaned, coated or repaired. In fact, Aerones' services are 6 times faster, 40% more efficient and a lot safer for humans that don't need to climb up wind turbines because the robots do. This enables huge cost savings in the $30B wind turbine maintenance market that is forecasted to grow to $50B by 2028.

Fernando Sandoval, Head of the Enel Innovation Hub in Europe, introduced Aerones to Ecosummit in April 2021 as part of their Ecosummit sponsorship. Shortly after, Dainis Kruze, Co-founder and CEO, pitched Aerones online for the first time at Ecosummit Zoom 12 May 2021. While Enel does not make minority investments in startups they work with a myriad of hardware and software startups usually as an early customer to bring new technologies and services to their business units and customer base. Fabio Bosatelli, Head of Automation and Robotics at Enel Green Power, agrees that robots play a very important role for wind turbine maintenance and points out the cooperation with Aerones is rolled out globally.

Directly after his outstanding pitch at Ecosummit Berlin 8-9 September 2021, I told Dainis that I would love to invest. In November 2021, we made our $100K angel investment happen signing a SAFE (Simple Agreement for Future Equity). Aerones graduated from the famous startup accelerator Y Combinator in 2018 which is the reason why Aerones is a US legal entity. Other Seed investors include Future Positive Capital, Change Ventures, Metaplanet and Mantas Mikuckas, Co-founder of the unicorn Vinted. Endijs Bernics, Head of Business Development at Aerones, pitched again at Ecosummit Berlin 23-24 June 2022 and finally convinced Philipp Krüger, Investment Manager at Haniel. It's fair to say that the friendship of Haniel and Aerones started at Ecosummit and we jointly believe Aerones is a great startup and investment opportunity.