Manna Raises $25 Million for Grocery Delivery Drone Startup Company

By James White | Friday, May 7, 2021 | Startup, Tech

The future fleet of delivery robots grows ever closer. Ecommerce giant Amazon continues to develop its fleet of delivery drones to drop packages on people’s doorsteps. Startup company Serve Robotics seeks to implement self-driving sidewalk robots for food delivery. The industry of automated and robotic delivery vehicles is brimming with innovation and competition. Investors recently backed drone startup business Manna with a $25 million Series A for its own delivery-as-a-service platform.

Food delivery drone.

“The Covid-19 pandemic forced consumers across the world to re-assess how they source their goods and opened our eyes to the fragility of our supply chains,” said Bobby Healy, CEO and founder of the startup company. “There is a huge appetite for a greener, quieter, safer and faster delivery service, and we’re excited to use this fresh round of funding to expand operations and offer our service to even more customers.”

Funding for Manna was led by European venture capital firm Draper Esprit, which fills its portfolio with businesses that are creating disruptive technologies. The drone delivery startup also found support in the financing round from technology holding company Team Europe. Other existing investors that participated in the financing round include Dynamo Ventures, Atlantic Bridge, and Elkstone. In 2019, Manna generated $3 million from seed investors to jumpstart its business. To date, investors have backed the drone startup company with over $30 million in support of its unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) delivery service.

Rapid Air Delivery

Founded by Healy in 2018, the drone delivery startup business aims to create an environmentally friendly and fast network of drones for food delivery. Manna claims that its company can deliver 10 times more than what traditional road-based services can deliver in the same amount of time.

Drones from the startup company cover their delivery routes from a height of 60 m (about 197 ft) off the ground and travel at speeds of over 80 kph (49.7 mph). According to the drone startup, delivery flights within a 2 km (1.24 mi) radius take about two to three minutes once the food has been prepared and the package attached to the drone. When the Manna drone arrives, the package is lowered down to the ground with a biodegradable thread. Currently, drones built by the startup business are limited to payloads of 2 kg (4.4 lbs).

“Drones will play a key role in building a long term and sustainable delivery infrastructure for communities around the world and Manna is already making that a reality,” said Nicola McClafferty, a partner at Draper Esprit. “We are thrilled and privileged to be supporting Bobby and the Manna team as they create the future of food delivery.”

Competition in the Drone Delivery Industry

Market research expects the global drone delivery service market to reach over $4.9 billion by 2030. Manna is currently testing its business in Galway, Ireland, where 30% of the population is already taking advantage of the service. The startup company will likely find competition from others in the industry, such as Flytrex, which has raised over $20 million from investors so far.

About the Author

Headshot for author James White

James White is a Michigan State University graduate with a B.S. in Environmental Biology. He is interested in reporting emerging trends in technology, especially with regard to alternative energy and environmental conservation.

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