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Irish drone delivery startup raises $25M for US expansion, hires Wing veteran

Manna, an Ireland-based drone delivery startup, has scooped up $25 million in Series A funding to scale its fleet and expand into the US market. And to head its US operations, the company has quietly roped in Andrew Patton, the former Lead of Strategy and Growth at Wing, a Google-developed drone delivery company.

Manna, which pitches itself as an aviation-grade B2B drone delivery “as-a-service” firm, designs, builds and operates its own drones. The drones can carry a cargo of up to 3kgs and reach top speeds of 80kph to guarantee a delivery time of less than three minutes in catchment areas as large as 50 square kilometers.

A single Manna employee is trained to operate multiple drones simultaneously, ensuring nearly 20 deliveries per hour. This is 10 times what can be achieved with traditional road-based delivery services.

Where is Manna now?

At present, the startup is conducting drone delivery trials in suburban last-mile settings of Galway, Ireland. With more than 30 percent of the town population using the service, Manna is making more than 100 deliveries a day (and night). Take a look:

Manna has already secured partnership deals with formidable brands, including JustEat, Samsung, Ben & Jerry’s, and Tesco. And for its US operations, the company would be looking to include prescription medical supplies in its service catalog – an area where Patton’s recent MedTech experience should come in handy.

Changing perceptions toward drone delivery

Pointing to how the public acceptance of drone deliveries has increased rapidly in recent times, Bobby Healy, CEO and founder of Manna, says:

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. 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. We are already working with our partners to deliver grocery products, takeaways and pharmaceutical supplies, and as we continue to scale our fleet of drones we will also begin supporting critical medical deliveries.

Manna’s Series A funding round was led by Draper Esprit, with participation from Team Europe and existing investors Dynamo Ventures, Atlantic Bridge, and Elkstone.

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Avatar for Ishveena Singh Ishveena Singh

Ishveena Singh is a versatile journalist and writer with a passion for drones and location technologies. She has been named as one of the 50 Rising Stars of the geospatial industry for the year 2021 by Geospatial World magazine.