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U2’s Bono Joins Board of Medical Drone Delivery Company Zipline

BY Zacc Dukowitz
18 September 2019

Irish musician Bono of U2 fame recently joined the board of Zipline.

Photo credit: Zipline

Zipline is a medical drone delivery company that helps get medical supplies to rural areas in Ghana, Rwanda, and elsewhere. This is the first time Bono has accepted a position on the board of any private company.

Bono, who was born Paul David Hewson, has a history of activism and philanthropy. His efforts have focused on sustainable development with the goal of improving the living conditions for those in poverty in third world countries, as well as raising money to fight AIDS and preventable disease.

This work led Bono to cofound an investment fund in 2016 called The Rise Fund. The Rise Fund is a $2 billion fund that invests in companies that aren’t just making financial returns but “complete returns,” that is, companies that also see social and environmental contributions as part of their core mission.

In May, The Rise Fund invested in Zipline to be a part of its ambitious plans for expansion. And that’s how Bono came to join the company’s board.

They’re making distance disappear. And they put people at the center of their commercial model, which I think is also something we think about a lot in The Rise Fund—that commerce should serve people and not the other way around.

– Bono

According to a recent article in Fast Company, Zipline believes that Bono’s influence will help them convince governments to adopt their technology more quickly, allowing them to expand their medical drone delivery services to other places where it’s needed around the world.

Recent Accolades and Accomplishments for Zipline

Zipline has been in the news a lot lately.

A few weeks ago, a new report from Drone Industry Insights that looked at the top drone service providers in the world found Zipline to be at the top of the list.

Image source

Back in April, Zipline announced the launch of what they claimed would be the largest drone delivery network in the world. The network is in Ghana, where there are four distribution centers that can make 600 medical delivery flights a day to 2,000 health facilities, potentially serving up to twelve million people.

Zipline’s first medical drone delivery program began in 2016, in Rwanda. In November of 2018, the company built a drone delivery assembly plant there to help extend medical deliveries to more hospitals. It currently has two distribution centers in the country.

In May, shortly after announcing the new Ghana delivery network, Zipline was valued at $1.2 billion and selected for CNBC’s “Disruptor 50” list for the second year in a row.

Here's why drone delivery startup Zipline made the CNBC Disruptor 50 list for the second straight ye

In 2018, Zipline was chosen as a UAS IPP (UAS Integration Pilot Program) partner for North Carolina’s Department of Transportation. Through that partnership, the company has made progress with medical drone deliveries in the state and has shared plans to begin regular deliveries there soon.

Other Celebrities Who Are into Drones

Wondering if there are any other celebrities who are also into drones?

There sure are!

Martha Stewart

Martha Stewart has spoken publicly about her support of drones.

In interviews, she’s talked about owning a Parrot AR 2.0, and she told USA Today “I like to see aerial views of my properties at different times of the year. Right now, with the autumnal colors, it’s really pretty.”

Stewart is such a fan that she even wrote an article entitled “Why I Love My Drone” for Time Magazine.

Jeff Goldblum and Liam Hemsworth

The two actors were featured on a YouTube channel called Dude Perfect. The video shows them racing FPV drones and has over 21 million views to date:

Drone Racing Battle | Dude Perfect

Karlie Kloss

Former Victoria Secret model Karlie Kross has shared a post of herself on Instagram featuring a drone she programmed through a course at the Flatiron School.

Jorja Fox

Jorja Fox plays Sara Sidle on CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and was Dr. Maggie Doyle on ER.

In a #dronesforgood story, she posted on her Facebook page that she bought a drone to help monitor “the last remaining elephants and other wildlife” in Kasungu National Park, located in Malawi.

Enrique Iglesias

Enrique Iglesias likes to use drones to film his live performances.

During one performance, he reached out to grab a drone in an inspired moment and got a pretty bad cut on his hand:

Enrique Iglesias slices fingers on drone at concert in Tijuana, MX

Excited to hear about celebrity interest in drones? Share your thoughts on this thread in the UAV Coach community forum.

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