Angel investors in the round are Xiaoping Xu and Nick Yang, two of China’s most successful entrepreneurs. PreAngel, a fund focused on early stage startups, is also contributing to the round. EHANG will use this new round of funding to meet demand amassed from its Indiegogo campaign by expanding its team and ramping up manufacturing efforts.
EHANG translates to “a billion flights,” but Derrick Xiong, co-founder of EHANG, sees his company’s mission as more personal: “It’s not just about creating a billion flights — it’s about creating a billion pilots. EHANG was founded on a love of aviation, and it’s our mission to make the joy of flight accessible to everyone.”
EHANG’s Ghost Drone crowdfunding campaign launched on Indiegogo on Nov. 10 with a goal of bringing RPA technology to the masses. The company surpassed its $100,000 Indiegogo goal in the first 24 hours of the campaign and has raised more than $600,000 to date. Due to this strong sustained demand, EHANG has extended its pre-sale campaign to Jan. 9. The Ghost Drone is available to pre-order for $375 at Indiegogo.
“The feedback from our community of backers is extremely important to our team, and we have already used it to create a better consumer experience,” said Derrick Xiong, co-founder of EHANG. “From how to control the Ghost Drone to crowdsourcing color choices, we wanted to create a product that our users would love.”
The Ghost Drone does not require any assembly or a separate remote control. It can be controlled by a user-friendly smartphone app, which sends an alert when the battery is low. The Ghost Drone “Auto-follow” feature allows the RPA to follow the user on an adventure, for example, skiing, hiking or running. Take off, hover, return and land are all pre-programmed on the app.
EHANG also unveiled the TILT control feature, which allows users to control their Ghost Drones by tilting their smartphone.
EHANG has tested the Ghost Drone at a variety of concerts, marathons, and sporting events. “These moments are all that really matter to us, and we want to help people capture them and re-live them later,” Xiong said.
This $10 million funding round will give the company the opportunity to accelerate growth both in China and the United States, he noted.
“There are so many potential applications for drone technology — from personal to commercial. We’re excited to be working with EHANG, because we love their unique approach to building this technology,” said Jenny Lee, Managing Partner at GGV Capital. “They are leveraging mobile apps and unique features to make drones that are easy for everyone to use.”
Ghost Drones are expected to ship before end of January 2015.