Russian venture funds support fuel cell developer

Phystech Ventures and North Energy Ventures, Russian VC funds, are pumping as much as $2m into AT Energy, a fuel cell developer and currently resident of Skolkovo, Russia’s most widely-touted innovation hub still under construction just outside Moscow, the Skolkovo Foundation website reported

The investment is expected to help further develop the company’s fuel cells for pilotless aircraft (drones) and standby power supply systems for telecommunications projects.

“In September 2014, AT Energy completed work on the inaugural version of its DronN 500W, a product for small pilotless systems. The company has succeeded in setting a record for flight duration; in a series of tests, a DronN-powered drone was airborne for more than 11 hours without landing, a considerable cut above the existing storage battery powered competition that can stay in the air for one or two hours at most,” the Foundation quoted an official VC funds spokesperson as saying.

“We like AT Energy’s strategy. The company is focused on markets where the use of fuel cells may ensure a critical improvement and customers are prepared to pay a high price. We can see positive trends in the pilotless systems segment, with the global market already worth more than $7bn; and according to recently announced plans, Russia may spend in excess of $10bn on drones over the next six years. We intend to help AT Energy keep its leadership market position and successfully challenge other global players in this segment, including Horizon, Protonex, etc.,” said Petr Lukyanov of Phystech Ventures.