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Medical Drone Delivery Startup Zipline Valued at $1.2 Billion, Aims to Expand Operations Globally and Launch in the U.S.

BY Zacc Dukowitz
21 May 2019

Less than a month after launching the biggest drone delivery network in the world in Ghana, medical drone delivery startup Zipline is in the news again, this time for raising an impressive $190 million in funding. Along with the funding, Zipline has received a new valuation from its investors of $1.2 billion.

Zipline is best known for its extensive medical drone delivery networks in Rwanda and Ghana, which are used to deliver blood, vaccines, and other important medical supplies to people living in remote areas.

The company plans to use the new funding to set up delivery hubs at 2,600 health facilities in Rwanda and Ghana by the end of this year. They also plan to continue expanding their medical delivery services throughout the world, including in South Asia, Southeast Asia, the Americas, as well as further expansion within Africa.

There is a growing feeling around the world that technology is not benefitting the vast majority of people. Zipline wants to establish a new model of success in Silicon Valley by showing the world that the right technology company…can help improve the lives of every person on the planet.

– Keller Rinaudo, CEO of Zipline

Since launching their medical drone delivery service in Rwanda in 2016, Zipline has made over 13,000 deliveries—a third of which were made in life-or-death emergency scenarios—making them an impressive example of the good drones are doing in the world.

Using the new funds, the company aims to grow exponentially over the next five years, with the goal of serving 700 million people by the close of 2024.

About Zipline’s New Funding

Over the last year, Zipline conducted two phases of fundraising with the goal of scaling its team and stretching its drone delivery services into new markets throughout the world.

Photo credit: Zipline

Last spring they raised $70 million from Katalyst Ventures, Baillie Gifford, GV, Temasek, Bright Success Capital, Goldman Sachs, Oakhouse Partners, Toyota Tsusho Corporation and the Design to Improve
Life Fund.

This spring they raised an additional $120 million, with additional investments by Baillie Gifford and a new investor, The Rise Fund, a global impact fund managed by TPG. Ballie Gifford and The Rise Fund were joined by returning investors Temasek, GV, and Katalyst Ventures.

The new investors join some of the most respected investors in the world including Sequoia Capital, Andreessen Horowitz, Yahoo founder Jerry Yang, and Stanford University.

The new funding brings Zipline’s total capital raised up to $225 million.

Zipline Chosen for CNBC’s Disruptor 50 List

Zipline was recently chosen for CNBC’s “Disruptor 50” list for the second year in a row, with a position on the list of 39 out of 50.

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

Companies are selected for the list based on their innovations in sectors as diverse as biotech, machine learning, retail, and agriculture. According to CNBC, companies are chosen because they’re changing the world by identifying unexploited niches in the market that have the potential to become billion-dollar businesses.

Coming Soon to the U.S.

As part of their involvement in the UAS Integration Pilot Program (UAS IPP), Zipline has been testing medical drone deliveries in North Carolina for the last year.

Photo credit: Zipline

Three other drone delivery companies who are also UAS IPP partners—Flirtey, Matternet, and Wing Aviation—have all received special FAA approvals related to conducting drone deliveries over the last few months. Zipline has also received FAA approval to conduct medical drone deliveries, and they reportedly plan to start conducting operations in North Carolina soon.

With their new funding and valuation, as well as their extensive experience in making actual drone deliveries, Zipline is positioned to be one of the top contenders in the drone delivery space. The next few years will see big strides and big battles between the companies listed here as they fight to become the top provider of drone delivery services.

What do you think—will we see Zipline drones making medical deliveries here in the U.S. soon? Share your thoughts on this thread in the UAV Coach community forum.

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