Drone delivery company Zipline doubles valuation

Zipline has doubled its valuation to $2.75 billion, following a $250 million funding round.

The drone delivery company said the money will be invested in accelerating the development of a new model for instant logistics.

New investors included Fidelity, Intercorp, Emerging Capital Partners and Reinvent Capital. While previous investors Baillie Gifford, Temasek, and Katalyst Ventures, also took part in the round.

The business said the funding would advance its existing integrated service, including the company’s autonomy platform, aircraft, fulfilment systems, and operations.

The investment will also be spent on the company’s expansion into new industries and geographies.

The company, which launched its first service in Rwanda in 2016, said that it had delivered Covid-19 vaccines at scale in Ghana. It has also launched 24/7 deliveries in Rwanda.

Over the past year the business has partnered with Toyota Group, with Walmart for on-demand delivery of health and wellness products in the US, with Pfizer to design and test an end-to-end delivery solution to deliver Covid-19 vaccines, and signed new partnerships with Nigeria’s Kaduna and Cross River States to deliver medical supplies, including vaccines, blood and medicines.

Zipline’s chief executive Keller Rinaudo told the Financial Times that the company had tripled its bookings goal last year as health systems around the world needed help with supply shortages and dealing with social distancing rules.

“Suddenly, the need for instant logistics is incredibly apparent to every health system owner,” Rinaudo said.

The chief exec revealed to the newspaper that after several years of negotiations, Zipline expects to receive a permit from the US Federal Aviation Administration to expand operations to a long-distance, unmanned delivery service.

“We are now on the one-yard line,” he added. “It’s super exciting that the FAA is committed to this and working as hard as they are to make sure that the US doesn’t fall behind in this fundamental new area of technology.”

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