Zipline, a US-based robotics startup that’s using drones to deliver medical supplies to clinics in Rwanda, has raised $25 million in Series B funding to expand its operations across Africa and other global markets.
Last month, Rwanda launched the world’s first commercial national drone service delivering medical supplies on request from health workers operating in remote areas.
Zipline will soon be making up to 150 flights each day, delivering blood to 21 transfusion facilities around the country using routes that are pre-programmed into the vehicle.
The funding, which takes Zipline’s total raised capital to over $40 million, was led by Visionnaire Ventures and includes investments from Google Ventures, Sequoia Capital, Andreessen Horowitz, Microsoft Co-founder, Paul Allen, and Yahoo Founder, Jerry Yang.
“Zipline is the best possible combination of social impact and business impact. It’s a smart investment that will help save lives,” said Co-founder and Managing Partner at Visionnaire Ventures, Susan Choe.
“We look forward to what the future holds for Zipline and the countless people who can benefit from the company’s lifesaving technology,” continued Choe.
Zipline, which has entered into an international partnership with UPS, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, also hopes to begin making instant deliveries in the US within the next six months in collaboration with the White House and the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
According to Venture Beat, the FAA recently introduced new drone regulations designed to “harness new innovations safely, to spur job growth, advance critical scientific research and save lives.” The rules are targeted at unmanned aircraft weighing less than 55 pounds carrying out “non-hobbyist operations.”
“The inability to deliver life-saving medicines to the people who need them the most causes millions of preventable deaths each year,” said CEO at Zipline, Keller Rinaudo.
“Zipline will help solve that problem once and for all. We’re building an instant delivery system for the world, allowing medicines and other products to be delivered on-demand and at low cost, anywhere. This new funding will help make that vision possible much sooner,” concluded Rinaudo.