Irish drone food-delivery company bags €4.7m funding round
Manna Aero, the drone delivery firm set up by CarTrawler chief technology officer Bobby Healy, has closed a seed funding round of $5.2m (€4.7m).
The round is led by Dynamo Ventures, which is focused on supply chain and logistics firms.
The Dublin-based company has said that it will launch its first food-delivery drone services in Ireland next month with the fast food delivery service Flipdish.
Mr Healy says he has clearance from Ireland’s regulators to do it and will start with an area servicing 30,000 people.
In the near future, he says, he hopes to scale to 50,000 delivery drones for the Irish and UK markets.
“We are on the cusp of the fifth industrial revolution, powered by drones, and our intention with Manna is to make drone delivery as pervasive as running water,” said Bobby Healy, Manna Aero founder.
“We want to literally transform marketplaces, economies, and communities all over the world in a way that not just reduces our carbon footprint, but saves lives and creates jobs while doing so.”
According to the company, the airborne logistics platform ‘in-a-box’ will provide online meal ordering platforms, restaurant chains and dark kitchens with a 3-minute delivery promise to their local communities “for a fraction of the cost of road-based deliveries”.
Manna Aero uses “custom-designed aviation-grade drones” built in Europe and the USA.
The drone fleet is operated directly from the restaurant or ‘dark kitchen’ premises and is accessible to food tech providers and online food platforms in a “channel-agnostic manner”, the company says.
“In Bobby and his incredible team, we see a path to capture a real beachhead in this new emerging market that is truly unprecedented and we look forward to helping accelerate their vision in the US in 2020,” said Jon Bradford, who led the investment for Dynamo Ventures. “It’s hard to find a rockstar team as ambitious and as capable as the Manna team, and in a domain that is as massive as it is difficult.”