Sterblue: automating power grid inspection
Drone technology has rapidly become an integral part of the power grid maintenance infrastructure. Indeed, the market for wind turbines and power grids inspection drone software is estimated to be worth $5 billion annually. As drone technologies evolve towards greater autonomy, with longer ranges and smarter navigation there are opportunities to improve efficiency, reliability, productivity and ultimately move closer towards a self-maintaining grid infrastructure. For this reason, innogy New Ventures LLC has participated in a $2 million funding round in Sterblue.
Sterblue, which was founded in 2016 in France by three aerospace engineers and Airbus alumni: Geoffrey Vancassel, CEO – Nicolas Draber, COO – Vincent Lecrubier, CTO, builds software that helps drones inspect power lines and wind turbines automatically. The software guides drones along trajectories that wrap tightly around structures, finds anomalies from the collected images and outputs reports. The whole process is automated and triggered at the click of a button using off-the-shelf drones, doubling productivity as compared to manual solutions, while improving reliability.
As data acquisition costs drop drastically, driven by automation, data on assets will be captured more frequently, affording more insights on assets with predictive maintenance and access anytime, anywhere to assess the status of each and every infrastructure. Sterblue builds tools that make this future possible, with a strategy focusing on specific markets, providing actual business-specific products and value, instead of just raw data.
“The future of the grid is digital, which is also true for grid maintenance; our vision is a self-checking and possibly self-maintaining grid infrastructure that takes away some of today’s inefficiencies. Sterblue’s capabilities help the innogy Innovation Hub to achieve another step towards this vision and we are proud to have teamed up with these brilliant entrepreneurs.”
Stefan Padberg, Managing Director, innogy New Ventures LLC
The $2 million seed round was led by The Westly Group (USA) and in addition to innogy New Ventures, other key investors include: EDP Ventures (Portugal), Contrarian Ventures (Lithuania) and Gagarin Capital (USA) as well as several US entrepreneurs including Peter Reinhardt (CEO Segment).
“We are really happy to have these major and relevant investors onboard for our seed round. Their investment combined with their deep knowledge of the energy space is a great advantage for Sterblue. That will definitely accelerate our product enhancement and market deployment!”
Geoffrey Vancassel, Sterblue CEO
We are thrilled to welcome Sterblue to innogy Innovation Hub and we are excited to collaborate with them further to help grow their business.
Sterblue builds software that helps drones to inspect wind turbines and power grids automatically. Sterblue already works with nine major utility companies in eight different countries. Sterblue software guides drones along trajectories that wrap tightly around structures, finds anomalies from the collected images and outputs reports. The whole process is automated and triggered by the click of a button using off-the-shelf drones, doubling productivity as compared to manual solutions, while improving reliability. Sterblue was created in 2016 by three aerospace engineers and is based in Nantes (France) and San Francisco (US).