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Earth VC Joins €3.7M Funding Round to Fuel HyLight's Hydrogen-powered Airship Drones.

Updated: Apr 25

Recently, Earth Venture Captial, has successfully co-invested in HyLight, a Paris-based Aerial Inspection startup. The €3.7M investment round was joined by prominent investors and business angels including Y Combinator, Ring Capital, Kima Ventures, and Collaborative Fund. Marc Tarpenning, the co-founder of Tesla, who is intrigued by the innovative approach to aerial inspection, was also involved in the funding round.

HyLight's Hydrogen-fueled airship drone

Infrastructure monitoring: a costly and complex necessity

With 80 million kilometers of energy infrastructure globally, regular inspections are crucial to prevent failures, given their critical role in the functioning of our civilization.

As a result, methane leaks from "oil and gas" infrastructure represent 4% of global greenhouse gas emissions and lead to annual losses of $7 billion in the European and North American markets. The costs of power outages amount to $18 billion per year in the USA alone. Despite widespread legislation aimed at enhancing infrastructure inspections and expediting repairs, the execution of these inspections can inadvertently exacerbate pollution or lack precision.

However, current methods were either costly and polluting (helicopters), not precise enough (drone planes and satellites), or lacking in flight autonomy (quadrocopter drones), facing challenges in providing accurate, large-scale inspections. Leveraging cutting-edge hydrogen airship drone technology, HyLight aims to revolutionize the way aerial inspections are conducted, offering a sustainable and efficient alternative to traditional methods.

HyLight: The first ecological and efficient aerial inspection alternative to drones, helicopters and satellites

At the heart of HyLight’s technology is a sophisticated blend of artificial intelligence (AI) and computer vision capabilities. Equipped with high-definition cameras and advanced sensors, HyLight’s airship drones can capture ultra-precise data over large areas, facilitating the early detection of faults and anomalies.

With a flight autonomy of up to 10 hours and a range of 350km, HyLight’s drones offer efficient and reliable aerial inspection. Equipped with HD cameras and sensors such as LIDAR and thermal infrared, they ensure precision for any mission. The drones detect previously uncollected data, transmit it securely, and generate detailed reports for preventive measures.

Support and partnerships from renowned entities that validate HyLight's potential

HyLight's integration into Y Combinator, the world's most prestigious startup accelerator, speaks to the soundness and potential of its innovation. The company is also a France 2030 winner, which was supported by the IDF region and benefits from high-level mentors and investors such as Tesla co-founder Marc Tarpenning and the former SpaceX launch director, Abhishek Tripathi.

In under two years since launching, HyLight has developed seven iterations of its airship drone, logged over 150 hours of flight time, and secured inspection contracts with Enedis, Europe’s largest power line operator to pilot its innovative aerial inspection solutions.

€3.7 million to get HyLighter off the ground

The recent funding will help HyLight reach key milestones in its growth journey. This includes conducting its first large-scale operations and expanding its network of strategic partnerships, bolstering its market position. Additionally, the funds will support the recruitment of experts in aviation regulation, embedded systems, hydrogen systems, mechanical engineering, industrialization, and software development. This team will play a crucial role in supporting the company's growth and R&D efforts, as well as strengthening its industry presence. Furthermore, the funding will facilitate the development of new versions of its airship drones, meeting stringent aeronautical and industrial standards and catering to increasing market demand worldwide.

HyLight team members

“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.”, said Martin Bocken, CEO of HyLight. He also stressed that: “With the support of our investors, we are ready to redefine the standards of industrial inspection and meet growing environmental and regulatory requirements”.

About HyLight

Founded in 2022 and located in Brétigny-sur-Orge, France, HyLight’s mission is to enhance society’s resilience against the effects of climate change by working on the crucial stage of infrastructure observation and inspection. Their flagship creation, the HyLighter, is a hydrogen-powered airship drone capable of collecting vital data over extensive distances without emitting greenhouse gases. HyLight is also one of the select hardware startups to join Y Combinator, positioning itself at the forefront of sustainable aerospace innovation.

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