Wireless power startup Aquila charges up on $2 million raise

- June 24, 2024 2 MIN READ
Aquila Earth cofounder Billy Jeremijenko
Aquila Earth cofounder Nelson Smith
A deep tech startup looking to turn Nikola Tesla’s vision of wireless power transmission into reality has banked $2 million in follow-on funding.

The round for Aquila was led by Alua Group, supported by existing investors Blackbird and Icehouse, who backed a $3 million Seed round 12 months ago.

Aquila was cofounded by 24-year-old Billy Jeremijenko and ex-Rocket Lab engineer Nelson Smith and was part of Startmate accelerator program last year.

The first product they’ve developed is called Lightway Sentry. It uses photonics – light beams sent from a transmitter on the ground to a solar cell receiver on a drone in the air to charge it and keep it flying.

Jeremijenko, Aquila’s CEO, said the new capital be used to bolster staffing and speed up Lightway Sentry’s development for commercial release.

“We’re on track to release the world’s first optical power-beaming product into the market and recruit the best people in the world to be part of our mission,” he said. 

“We’ve met our seed funding targets, including scaling our technology and establishing a product certification pathway.

“We’ve demonstrated proof of concept and are now focused on making Lightway Sentry an end-to-end solution to provide 24/7 aerial situational awareness, transforming productivity and safety outcomes for many drone applications.” 

In testing earlier this year, Aquila was able to charge drones wirelessly from a 50m distance, which is more than 10 times  previous attempts with similar technology. From DJI and other small drones, they hoping to scale wireless charging at longer ranges for larger drones.

Aquila has bigger plan to scale its wireless energy technology to network levels globally using clean energy, as well as interest from global customers, such as the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

Alua Group founder Josh Best declared Jeremijenko’s vision “nothing short of revolutionary” for power distribution.

“His ability to drive progress and attract top-tier talent propels Aquila to introduce a groundbreaking product with Lightway Sentry and redefine global energy dynamics,” he said.

“We are excited to support Aquila as they transition from a promising startup to a market leader in wireless energy solutions, setting the stage for a future where energy can be moved across the globe wirelessly.” 

After scaling the technology to charge faster, higher electric aircraft, and then satellites, the startup’s long-term vision is to create the “internet of energy” which will take the form of space-based optical relay systems that will supply electricity markets worldwide.