Zipline to Expand Drone Delivery Services With $250M in New Funding

The startup, which has delivered healthcare supplies and other goods in the U.S. and Africa, will be valued at $2.75 billion.

Zipline has delivered medical supplies via aerial drone in Rwanda.

Zipline has delivered medical supplies via aerial drone in Rwanda.

Drone delivery provider Zipline Inc. yesterday said it has raised $250 million in financing. The San Francisco-based company claimed that it “operates the world's largest automated on-demand delivery service.” Zipline said it plans to use its latest funding to continue developing its integrated service and expand into new industries and locations.

“At Zipline, our mission is to create the first logistics company that serves all humans equally,” stated Keller Rinaudo, founder and CEO at Zipline. “Around the world, our partners are reimagining how patients access care with fast, reliable on-demand delivery.”

Founded in 2014, Zipline said it has made more than 150,000 commercial drone deliveries to date, serving governments, global retail brands, and leading healthcare systems. 

“We have completed hundreds of thousands of deliveries of blood, medicines, and vaccines, and today Zipline makes a commercial delivery every four minutes,” Rinaudo added. “In the past year, we have seen major growth in every market, including the U.S., and we’re continuing to build on our proven track record and technology to bring instant logistics to more partners, communities and people.”

Drone delivery milestones

Zipline said it experienced rapid growth in the past year and touted the following accomplishments:

  • Expanded its service hours in Rwanda to offer the first 24/7 autonomous delivery service in the world
  • Signed a partnership with the Ministry of Health in Ghana to scale to four additional distribution centers that will cover 24 million people—90% of the country’s population
  • Helped partners in the U.S. and Africa respond quickly to the COVID-19 pandemic, distributing vaccines and personal protective equipment (PPE) in Ghana and transporting PPE in North Carolina with Novant Health
  • Signed new partnerships with Nigeria’s Kaduna and Cross River states to deliver medical supplies, including vaccines, blood, and medicine
  • Entered Japan through a first-of-its-kind strategic operational partnership with Toyota Group
  • Announced a partnership with Walmart to bring on-demand delivery of health and wellness products to the U.S.
  • Partnered with Pfizer to design and test delivery systems to safely, efficiently, and equitably distribute COVID-19 vaccines in countries where Zipline operates
  • Surpassed 10 million autonomous miles flown and 2 million vaccine doses distributed

Funding to bring Zipline valuation to $2.75B

“When we launched in Rwanda in 2016, we set out to serve 21 hospitals in the first year. It was hard— integrating systems, fine-tuning hardware, on-boarding new facilities, pioneering new systems to integrate into civilian airspace, to name a few,” Zipline said in a blog post. “This year, when we launch in Kaduna state, Nigeria, we will serve 1,000 new facilities, onboarded with custom-built, proprietary software. It’s still hard, but the bar is much, much higher.”

The company said the latest round of funding bringing its valuation to $2.75 billion. New investors Fidelity, Intercorp, Emerging Capital Partners, and Reinvent Capital participated in the round alongside existing investors including Baillie Gifford, Temasek, and Katalyst Ventures.

Zipline said it will using the funding to advance its autonomy platform, fulfillment systems, and operations. The global drone package delivery market will grow from $528 million in 2020 to $39 billion by 2030, experiencing a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 53.8%, predicts Markets and Markets.

“Zipline’s delivery service has transformed national health systems and expanded access to care for millions of people,” said Tom Slater, head of US equities team at Baillie Gifford. “With Zipline, we can imagine a world in which anyone could have access to anything in a matter of minutes. The team has created the first automated logistics infrastructure that can support instant delivery at scale and is now rapidly expanding to serve more people and tap into the surging demand for the service around the world.”

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Zipline has delivered medical supplies via aerial drone in Rwanda.

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