Autonomous drone startup Zipline hits 1 million deliveries

Autonomous drone startup Zipline hits 1 million deliveries

Autonomous delivery drone startup Zipline announced Friday that it has reached its one millionth delivery to customers and that it is eyeing restaurant partnerships in its next phase of growth.

The San Francisco-based startup designs, builds and operates autonomous delivery drones, working with customers ranging from more than 4,700 hospitals, including the Cleveland Clinic, to major brands like Walmart and GNC. To date, it has raised more than $500 million from investors including Sequoia Capital, a16z and Google Ventures. Zipline is also a CNBC Disruptor 50 company.

The company said its zero-emission drones have now flown more than 70 million autonomous commercial miles across four continents and delivered more than 10 million products.

In the 1 millionth delivery, two bags of intravenous fluid were transported from a Zipline distribution center in Ghana to a local health facility.

As the company continues to expand, it will offer Panera Bread in Seattle, Memorial Hermann Health System in Houston and Jet’s Pizza in Detroit.

Zipline CEO Keller Rinaudo Cliffton told CNBC that 70% of the company’s deliveries have occurred in the last two years and the goal going forward is to make 1 million deliveries per day.

“The three areas where incentives really make the most sense today are healthcare, quick retail and grocery, and those are the three main markets we’re focused on,” Rinaudo Cliffton said. “Our goal is to partner with the truly best brands or the best institutions in each of these markets.”

The push into restaurant partnerships is an “obvious transition,” he said, as interest in instant food delivery continues to grow. Zipline already delivers Walmart groceries to customers.

“We need to start using vehicles that are light, fast, autonomous and zero-emission,” said Rinaudo Cliffton. “This way, delivery is ten times faster, it’s more cost-effective… and compared to the traditional delivery apps that most restaurants work with, we triple the service radius, meaning you [get] 10x the number of customers reachable via instant delivery.”

Zipline deliveries for some Panera locations in Seattle are expected to begin next year, Panera franchisee Chief Operating Officer Ron Bellamy told CNBC. Even in an inflationary environment, the company’s shipments continue to grow, he said. He added that Zipline’s costs are expected to be at the same level as today’s third-party delivery, with the hope that these costs will decrease over time.

“I feel encouraged by it, not only in terms of what I can do for the company, but as a consumer I think at the end of the day it’s economical and provides a better overall experience.” “The consumer will speak,” said Bellamy.

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2024-04-19 17:40:36