Zipline operates the world’s first national-scale drone logistics network, rapidly delivering critical medical products to even the most remote communities. For almost two years, we have partnered with the Ministry of Health in Rwanda to deliver blood to remote health facilities that were often several hours’ drive from the closest blood bank. We now deliver over 35% of Rwanda’s national blood supply outside the capital city of Kigali, and we are saving lives everyday.
The objectives of the Nigeria-based Business Development team include lead engagements with new and existing customers in Nigeria in the public and private sector to establish new “skyways” for drone delivery of emergency medical supplies, developing a deep understanding of the healthcare supply chain map and form relationships with the relevant stakeholders and collaborating with its international business development and regulatory affairs team to understand what steps and systems are required for Zipline to launch in Nigeria.
In August last year, Zipline partnered with the Tanzania
govt to launch drone delivery service for vaccines and life-saving medicines for emergencies. During the launch, the government said it will use drones to make up to 2,000 life-saving deliveries per day to over one thousand health facilities, serving 10 million people across the country. Zipline said it would operate from four distribution centers—one in Dodoma, two near Mwanza and Lake Victoria, and one in Mbeya. The four distribution centers will be equipped with up to 30 drones and targeting up to 500 on-demand delivery flights a day to ensure that all 5,640 public health facilities have blood transfusion supplies, emergency vaccines, HIV medications, anti-malarials and critical medical supplies like sutures and IV tubes.
The drones in Tanzania carry 1.5 kilos of cargo, cruising at 110 kilometers an hour, and have a round trip range of 160 kilometers. Health workers place delivery orders by text message and receive their package within 30 minutes on average. In October 2016, Rwanda partnered with Zipline to launch its drone delivery network which has flown more than 100,000 km in Rwanda, delivered more than 2,600 units of blood over 1,400 flights.
In November 2016, Zipline raised $25 million series B led by Visionnaire Ventures with participation from Andreessen Horowitz, Sequoia Capital,Subtraction Capital and Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang to make delivery of medical supplies in remote areas a reality. The $25m series B brought to $43 million the startup has raised so far. Zipline said at the time that it would use the cash to hire, develop its technology and launch in new markets such as Indonesia, Viet Nam and in the U.S. after relevant regulations are met. Nigeria seems to have been on its radar as well.