In recent years, drones have become central to the functioning of several businesses and governmental entities and have managed to pierce through the traditional way of doing business in many industries. Drones are rapidly growing in popularity, but their existence dates back to World War I. From quick deliveries to scanning an unreachable military base, drones have performed previously unimaginable tasks effectively and efficiently. Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) enable businesses to increase work efficiency and productivity, reduce workload and operating costs, and enhance business operations accuracy.
The global drone package delivery market is projected to hit USD 6,773 million by 2026, growing at a CAGR of 53% between 2021 and 2026. The potential to reduce roadway congestion, improve safety, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, enhance route flexibility, and decrease roadway and bridge maintenance costs are contributing to the market’s global growth.
Here we have carefully curated a list of global top 10 drone delivery startups. The startups in this list are ranked according to the total funding they have raised to date. All these startups have distinguished themselves by the product or service they provide in the industry. Most of these companies emerged as a life-saviour during the tough times of Covid-19, and few specifically cater to the health sector. Drones offer limited physical contact during the delivery, thereby reducing the risk of Coronavirus transmission. CrunchBase and Pitchbook are the primary sources of data used in this article.
10. Xunyi (Antwork Technology)
- Founders: Heng Li, Lei Zhang, Liang Zhao
- Founding year: Aug 2015
- Headquarters: Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China
- Total Funding Received: USD 4,381,033
- Investors: Sequoia Capital China, Gobi Partners, Unity VC, Panda Capital
- Last Funding Round Type and Deal Amount: Series A, USD 4,381,033
Antwork Technology provides robotic drones intended to serve the large-scale delivery sector in China. The company’s drones make delivery convenient and less time consuming, enabling clients to deliver the products in time to their end customers. Antwork is also the first-ever company to have obtained a BVLOS clearance from a major CAA. The startup has conducted close to 50,000+ flights over populated areas. Antwork is now planning to expand to Europe and the Middle East.
- Founders: Manal Habib, Scott Parker
- Founding year: Oct 2019
- Headquarters: San Francisco, California, United States
- Total Funding Received: USD 5,100,000
- Investors: 500 Startups, Global Founders Capital, Graph Ventures, Halogen Ventures, Adam Morley, Side Door Ventures, At One Ventures
- Last Funding Round Type and Deal Amount: Seed, USD 5.1 million
MightyFly offers logistics and supply chain services to serve medical, spare parts, mining, defence, remote, and oil and gas industries. The company connects remote locations with long-range and heavy cargo aircraft and express customised aerial drone delivery services, helping its clients with expedited deliveries that are cheaper and faster. The startup is building patent-pending, autonomous, eVTOL aircraft with a cargo capacity of up to 500 pounds, a range of 600 miles, and a speed of 150 mph to provide rapid and efficient package transport for businesses and governments.
- Founders: Duncan Walker, Simon Morrish
- Founding year: 2017
- Headquarters: London, England, United Kingdom
- Total Funding Received: Euro 6 million
- Investors: Deutsche Bahn Digital Ventures, Levitate Capital, Groupe ADP, Irelandia Aviation
- Last Funding Round Type and Deal Amount: Series A, Euro 650K
Skyports is an urban aviation infrastructure and drone delivery company that aims to connect the world through the skies. The company locates, builds, owns, and operates passenger and cargo vertiports at strategic locations within urban environments, thereby helping vehicle manufacturers and operators, city authorities, regulators and real estate partners in creating resilient infrastructure networks which enable safe and efficient operations of passenger and cargo drones.
- Founders: Ahmed Haider, Matthew Sweeny, Tom Bass
- Founding year: Nov 2013
- Headquarters: Reno, Nevada, United States
- Total Funding Received: USD 16,163,748
- Investors: Y Combinator, ZhenFund, Menlo Ventures, Partech, Qualcomm Ventures, Lowercase Capital and others
- Last Funding Round Type and Deal Amount: Series A, USD 16 million
Flirtey offers independent drone delivery services intended to change consumer behaviour. The company’s services include delivering mail, food, and medicine via automated drones, enabling businesses to unlock new markets, drive sales, pioneer instant delivery and replace a costly and cumbersome logistics network. The company has achieved several milestones, it is the first company to conduct an FAA-approved drone delivery in the U.S., perform a fully autonomous drone delivery to a home, and launch a commercial drone delivery service.
- Founders: Amit Regev, Yariv Bash
- Founding year: Nov 1, 2013
- Headquarters: Tel Aviv, Tel Aviv, Israel
- Total Funding Received: USD 20,330,000
- Investors: btov Partners, VI Partners, Matias Ventures, BackBone Ventures, Armada Investment AG and others
- Last Funding Round Type and Deal Amount: Convertible Note, USD 8 million
Flytrex developed a demand drone delivery technology intended to provide airdrop facilities. The company’s technology uses automated drones controlled over the cloud using a smart and easy control dashboard, enabling retailers, eCommerce marketplaces, delivery companies and private individuals to achieve deliveries and reach poorly accessible areas while lowering operational and capital expenses. Flytrex drones can carry up to 6.5lbs and travel a distance of approximately six aerial miles. Its drones require minimal handling, thus reducing the workforce and ensuring a quick delivery every single time. In August 2017, Flytrex launched the world’s first fully operational, regulatory approved, on-demand drone delivery service in Reykjavik, Iceland, and became the leading competitor in the race to deploy an actual on-demand delivery service via autonomous vehicles.
- Founders: Ansgar Kadura, Jonathan Hesselbarth, Tom Plümmer
- Founding year: 2017
- Headquarters: Darmstadt, Hessen, Germany
- Total Funding Received: USD 22,000,000
- Investors: Expa, Xplorer Capital, Futury Capital, Corecam Family Office, Hessen Kapital
- Latest Funding Round Type and Deal Amount: NA
Wingcopter is an aviation company that operates both as a manufacturer of aviation-grade drone technology and as a service provider for a wide range of drone deployments, including the delivery of medical goods, parcels, food or spare parts, as well as mapping/surveying and inspection/monitoring. Wingcopter can take off and land vertically, resembling a multicopter while flying long distances as efficiently and swiftly as a fixed-wing aircraft, even in rainy and windy conditions. A core value proposition of Wingcopter is to support its partners in increasing operational efficiency through revolutionary triple drop technology, utilising smart and easily swappable batteries to maximise time in the air, and developing software that will permit a single pilot to fly and monitor up to 10 drones simultaneously.
4. Manna Drone Delivery
- Founders: Bobby Healy
- Founding year: 2018
- Headquarters: Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
- Total Funding Received: USD 30,200,000
- Investors: Founders Fund, ff Venture Capital, DST Global, Atlantic Bridge, Dynamo, Frontline Ventures and others
- Last Funding Round Type and Deal Amount: Series A, USD 25 million
Manna Drone Delivery services intend to replace road-based delivery. The company provides fast delivery to consumers in suburban and rural communities from every restaurant, convenience store and pharmacy using its custom-developed aerospace-grade drones, enabling retailers and restaurants to reduce delivery times to a fraction of their current times and improve the consumer experience of food delivery.
- Founder: Andreas Raptopoulos
- Founding year: Dec 6, 2011
- Headquarters: Mountain View, California, United States
- Total Funding Received: USD 31,140,701
- Investors: Andreessen Horowitz, Alchemist Accelerator, Legend Star, Daimler, Comet Labs and others
- Last Funding Round Type and Deal Amount: Series B, USD 5,659,675
Matternet developed an on-demand delivery platform designed to offer fully automated and battery-enabled package exchange. The company’s platform operates drones with a payload and connects with an easy-to-use station to automate payload and battery exchange for operating routes, monitoring, commanding and controlling, thereby enabling companies to build and operate drone logistics networks for transporting goods.
- Founders: Hannan Parvizian, Wesley Zheng
- Founding year: Aug 2015
- Headquarters: Concord, California, United States
- Total Funding Received: USD 75,120,000
- Investors: Y Combinator, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Alchemist Accelerator, Icon Ventures, One Planet, Graphene Ventures, Merck Global Health Innovation Fund, Harpoon, Outbound Capital, AirFinance Ventures
- Last Funding Round Type and Deal Amount: Series B, USD 50 million
Volansi developed fast on-demand aerial delivery drones to facilitate time-critical shipments over long ranges. The company’s drones offer delivery on fixed routes for customers who have a particular pain point around time and costs, enabling businesses to deliver goods in the least time possible.
- Founders: Keenan Wyrobek, Keller Rinaudo, Will Hetzler
- Founding year: 2014
- Headquarters: South San Francisco, California, United States
- Total Funding Received: USD 483 million
- Investors: Techstars, SV Angel, Sequoia Capital, Goldman Sachs, TPG, Fidelity and others
- Last Funding Round Type and Deal Amount: Series E, USD 250,000,000
Zipline developed an automated drone delivery service intended for the distribution of blood and other medical supplies. The company leverages proprietary fixed-wing drones to facilitate deliveries of vaccines and medicines to hospitals and health centres, providing the medical community and patients in remote areas with instant access to vital supplies.
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