Wingcopter has raised $42 million from German retailer REWE Group, and German investors Salvia and XAI technologies as new shareholders, tripling the company’s equity to more than $60 million.

REWE Group is one of Germany’s largest grocery retailers with 12,000 stores across Europe while Salvia is known for its investment in German biotech champion BioNTech. They are joined by Japanese conglomerate Itochu, Futury Capital from Germany and Silicon Valley-based Xplorer Capital.

Founded by machine vision pioneer Enis Ersü, XAI technologies has experience in sensor technology and industrial automation, while Itochu is one of Japan’s largest trading companies listed in the Fortune Global 500 index.

Wingcopter will be able to expand its drone delivery services and ramp up production of the Wingcopter 198, having experienced growing demand and already sold most production slots for this year and the next, and hire 80 new employees.

This comes shortly after the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approved the Airworthiness Criteria for the Wingcopter 198, which marked a critical milestone in the US Type Certification Process of the company’s flagship aircraft.

Wingcopter co-founder and CEO Tom Plümmer said: “We are hiring passionate pioneers with whom to build what has not existed before. The new funding, combined with growing revenues, puts us in an excellent position to establish our industry-leading drone delivery solution with customers around the globe.”

REWE Group executive board member Christoph Eltze added: “For years, we have relied on strong partnerships with innovation leaders, and we have found such a partner with Wingcopter.”

Salvia founder and managing partner Helmut Jeggle continued: “With its disruptive technology and highly motivated team, Wingcopter has the potential to become a frontrunner in drone delivery, and we are pleased to accompany this success as an investor and partner.”

XAI technologies managing owner Enis Ersü explained: “We are excited to join the Wingcopter team as leader in drone delivery logistics as investor and technology partner, with our team very much looking forward to generating further business potential.”

Wingcopter’s recent partnership agreement with Continental Drones aims to deploy 12,000 drones in sub-Saharan Africa. Synerjet is an authorised Wingcopter partner in Latin America, while Itochu is an authorised Wingcopter partner in Japan.

In February, Wingcopter and Spright, a subsidiary of leading US air medical service provider Air Methods, announced a commercial agreement worth more than $16 million for Spright to acquire a large fleet of the Wingcopter 198 to meet the increasing demand for medical drone delivery.