Zipline, the startup working to deliver medical supplies by drone, hit big in its second round of funding, herding a total of five private investors and venture capitalists together.
The drone company aims to make supplies such as medicine, blood, and vaccines more accessible. Delivering supplies to remote areas in the world where the population is dispersed can take several hours – and in some emergencies that can result in medical personnel being too late. Zip, the fixed-wing drone, can dash ahead at speeds of 100 kilometers per hour, surpassing tricky terrain found in rural areas. While medical personnel may still be needed in some cases, Zipline can provide materials quickly to ease the waiting time.
As summer approaches, the young startup wants to put their tech to the test. Zipline plans to deliver blood products for twenty hospital and health centers in Rwanda. They would effectively service a 60-kilometer range surrounding their ‘base’.
However, to achieve such a large task the startup required some funding – and got it. In its Series B funding, Zipline raised $25 million dollars from Sequoia Capital, Andreessen Horowitz, Subtraction Capital and Jerry Yang reports TechCrunch. This funding will enable the startup’s preliminary run in Rwanda as well as hiring, research and development, and further expansion.
Further expansion might even include the US, partnering with the White House and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). As the FAA has released new regulations including life-saving applications, Zipline appears to be a perfect fit. The regulations specifically allow for the operation of non-hobbyist drones weighing less than 55 pounds.
With companies like Zipline and Flirtey setting their sights on the sky for medical and commercial drone delivery, ordering and receiving products might get a whole lot easier and faster. Whether it be a sweater from Amazon or life-saving medicine, drones could be able to do it all.