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Aerones: using robotics to help the environment

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“We stuck to the problem, not to the solution” says Dainis Kruze, co-founder of the Latvian company Aerones; a robotic wind turbine inspection, maintenance & repair solution that enables a two to three man team to execute a range of services in hours that would otherwise take days.

The concept of Aerones had originally started off as a heavy lift drone project, when Dainis and his co-founders Janis Putrams and Andris Dambis joined forces in 2015. “It was more of a hobby to begin with, but we knew there was a business in there somewhere so we continued to explore our options”. The co-founders considered applications such as rescue and firefighting but the business model wasn’t quite clicking; the market wasn’t very large and urban regulation on drone operation meant there were several barriers to success. “But then we thought of the wind energy industry and things fell into place”, explains Dainis, “After testing the drone solution, we continued to improve the technology until we understood that the drone is not the most precise technology for this task, so instead we developed a system of pulleys to enable the robots to climb up, clean, inspect and repair wind turbine blades as well as apply things like ice phobic coatings and fillers - all with the same system, just by changing different robotic arms.”

With the wind energy industry predicted to grow to 30 times its current size, Aerones saw an explosion in demand and now works all around the world for large wind turbine manufacturers. “We are building something completely different from the currently available solutions. The wind industry can provide energy for our children. If we can be a part of making renewable energy more accessible even by only 5 percent, that’s already something valuable”.

The company received investment from Change Ventures, a venture capital firm backed by the EIF, in 2020 to help them scale their commercial offer, “it’s great to be able to discuss ideas or ways in which we can solve problems, and to have a partner which champions our business” says Dainis.  “As founders we also bring different things to the table, and this is important too. I am the sales guy, Janis is the start-up veteran, and Andris is the mechanical engineer; it’s the perfect combination”. And with giants like GE starting to approach Aerones for offshore maintenance, the sky is quite literally the limit for this future-focussed trio.

Company: Aerones (Riga, Latvia)

Type of business: Energy efficiency, robotics

EIF financing: Baltic Innovation Fund – BIF; InnovFin Equity, EFSI

Financial intermediary: Change Ventures

Financing purpose: Scaling the business

For further information about EIF intermediaries in Hungary, please refer to: http://www.eif.org/what_we_do/where/lv

 

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