Richmond, VA, April 29, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The Center for Innovative Technology (CIT) today announced that CIT GAP Funds has invested in Hampton, Va.-based Advanced Aircraft Company (AAC), an aeronautical engineering and aircraft manufacturing company that produces vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) unmanned aerial systems (UAS) for military and commercial markets. AAC’s long endurance drones can double revenue generated per pilot for commercial UAS operators. The company will use this investment to action on its go-to-market plan and increase aircraft production rate.
A majority of today’s UAS operators in the commercial markets employ battery-powered, multi-rotor UAS devices. This results in operators only achieving 3.4 hours of productive utilization in a standard 8-hour workday. Lack of productivity is one of the key pain points of the UAS industry. Advanced Aircraft Company is helping solve this challenge by manufacturing technology that helps its customers achieve nearly 6 hours of productive utilization in an 8-hour workday. This enables customers to nearly double their revenue for similar costs.
“During my time at NASA, I lead the Greased Lightning UAS project. This VTOL UAS showed a lot of promise during flight tests, so I decided to commercialize this technology by founding Advanced Aircraft Company,” said Bill Fredericks, Founder and CEO of Advanced Aircraft Company. “Our mission is selling greater productivity for our customers. First, via our Hybrid Advanced Multi-Rotor (HAMR) UAS product. Then, via our follow-on product, Greased Lightning, which we have licensed from NASA. We thank CIT GAP Funds for their support and recognizing the economic value of the technology, allowing us to scale our first product and execute our go-to-market plan.”
AAC’s first product, the HAMR UAS, is a hybrid, electric multi-rotor system with a 3.5-hour max endurance. It can survey 800 to 1,400 acres per flight, compared to a battery-powered, multi-rotor system that can survey 100 to 200 acres per flight. The HAMR achieves this advanced performance as a result of its aerodynamic design improvements and hybrid electric propulsion system, which doubles the productivity of the UAS pilot compared to conventional multi-rotors.
“The use of unmanned aerial systems is only going to grow, and AAC has a great opportunity to impact this market. We have been impressed by their leadership team’s industry experience and commitment to solving real challenges,” said Marco Rubin, Senior Investment Director, CIT GAP Funds. “With their primary HAMR product and soon-to-be-available Greased Lightning UAS, AAC is on a good path to help its customers increase productivity and thus create positive economic value for them. We look forward to following their journey as they continue to grow and gain more traction.”
About Advanced Aircraft Company
Advanced Aircraft Company (AAC) is an aeronautical engineering and aircraft manufacturing company based in Hampton, VA. AAC produces long endurance vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) unmanned aerial systems (UAS) targeting commercial, government, and military markets. This long endurance serves our commercial customers by increasing the productivity of their pilots, which enables twice as many acres to be imaged per day, and thus twice as much revenue for similar labor costs. For more information please visit: https://advancedaircraftcompany.com/.
About CIT GAP Funds
CIT GAP Funds makes seed-stage equity investments in Virginia-based technology, cleantech, and life science companies with a high potential for achieving rapid growth and generating a significant economic return for entrepreneurs, co-investors, and the Commonwealth of Virginia. Since its inception in 2005, CIT GAP Funds has deployed $32.4 million in capital across more than 240 portfolio companies, including 17 companies in designated Opportunity Zones. CIT GAP Funds’ investments are overseen by the CIT GAP Funds Investment Advisory Board (IAB). This independent, third-party panel consists of leading regional entrepreneurs, angel, and strategic investors, and venture capital firms such as New Enterprise Associates, Grotech Ventures, Harbert Venture Partners HIG Ventures, Edison Ventures, In-Q-Tel, Intersouth Partners, SJF Ventures, Carilion Health Systems, Johnson & Johnson, General Electric, and Alpha Natural Resources. For more information, please visit www.cit.org/gap.
About the Center for Innovative Technology (CIT)
Investing in Virginia’s Growth | CIT concentrates on the early commercialization and seed funding stages of innovation, helping innovators and tech entrepreneurs launch and grow new companies, create high-paying jobs, and accelerate economic growth throughout the entire state of Virginia. Founded in 1985, CIT accelerates next-generation technologies and technology companies through commercialization, capital formation, and market development initiatives throughout Virginia. Programs include | CIT GAP Funds | Commonwealth Commercialization Fund (CCF) | Virginia Founders Fund | Smart Communities | Cybersecurity | Unmanned Systems | SBIR/STTR Support (Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) & Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs) | Virginia Research Investment Fund (VRIF) | Regional Innovation Fund (RIF) | Startup Company Mentoring & Engagement. For more information, please visit www.cit.org. You can also follow CIT on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.