Canada drone maker Aeryon Labs secures C$60 million financing

By Euan Rocha

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canadian commercial drone maker Aeryon Labs Inc said on Friday it has secured C$60 million ($45.9 million) of financing from a U.S. venture capital firm, putting it on a path to expand and more than double its sales growth over the next two years.

Aeryon, which is based in BlackBerry's hometown of Waterloo, Ontario, is focussed on making specialized drones for military reconnaissance and public safety uses, as well as drones for commercial uses such as inspection of power lines or wildlife monitoring.

"In the last four years, we have grown 100 percent year-over-year in terms of sales and we've been profitable too, and we now expect that to move into the 200 percent sales growth range over the next couple of years," said Aeryon's Chief Executive Dave Kroetsch in an interview.

Kroetsch said the cash infusion from Summit Partners, which is Aeryon's first major round of financing, will not only help the firm boost sales, but also more than double its headcount to about 200 people, most of whom will be based in and around its headquarters in Waterloo.

The cash infusion is the third largest round of financing raised by a Canadian start-up this year, tying it with property information provider Real Matters that raised an identical sum in May.

The only larger start-up financings in Canada this year have been point-of-sale technology provider Lightspeed Retail's C$80 million raised in September and Canadian mobile messaging company Kik Interactive's C$65.3 million financing in August.

Kroetsch said the focus was to help Aeryon to grow, but the company would be open to exploring either a public market offering or a sale in a few years' time.

(Editing by Bernadette Baum)