Founders: Keller Rinauda (CEO), Keenan Virobek
Launched: 2014
Headquarters: San Francisco
$ 486 million
Rating: $ 2.5 billion
Key technologies:
Autonomous vehicles, robotics
Previous appearances in the Disruptor 50 list: 3 (№ 7 in 2020)

California-based drone delivery company Zipline is looking to change the way it delivers critical medical supplies.

Since its founding in 2014, the company has established itself in Ghana and Rwanda, helping to secure their national blood supply network and the spread of the Covid-19 vaccine respectively. In March, the company announced that it had helped the Ghana Ministry of Health supply one million vaccines, which not only reduced vaccine stocks but also increased the amount of drugs and supplies available in health facilities by 10%.

After raising $ 250 million in new funding in June, raising its estimate to $ 2.5 billion, Zipline continues to expand into new industries and geographic areas such as the U.S. as well as further into trade.

Last November, Zipline first delivered something directly to consumers ’homes as part of a partnership with Walmart. In Pee Ridge, Arkansas, residents can place orders online for a variety of health and wellness products and deliver them by Zipline stand-alone aircraft the same day.

The 25-foot platform, built behind the Walmart Neighborhood Market in Pee Ridge, serves as a base for the takeoff and landing of 11-foot Zipline fixed-wing drones that operate autonomously. Once a customer orders a product through the Zipline app, a Walmart employee selects and packs the product and gives it to Zipline employees. The drone is then loaded and launched, and the product is dropped into a cardboard box supported by a paper parachute.

The company also entered Japan through a partnership with Toyota Tsusho, where it supplies medical supplies to pharmacies and hospitals in remote and isolated areas.

Unmanned drone delivery has become a topical issue as companies seek to reach near-instant buying points in e-commerce, and avoid some of the problems that have caused last-mile delivery in recent years, such as traffic, lack of available drivers and gas prices.

In addition, the FAA, it would seem, has also begun to warm up to this idea. In February, the FAA said it would begin testing the air traffic control system for drones that remain below 400 feet this spring, based on a plan announced earlier that could deliver drones across the United States.

“We have seen for ourselves the impact that instant logistics can have on creating important, even life-saving products available at any time,” said Keller Rinauda, ​​co-founder and CEO of Zipline, in a statement announcing the launch of the partnership. from Walmart. “By working with Walmart, we can bring this type of service to Northwest Arkansas, showcasing what the future of health access looks like.”

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