Ireland-based Manna, a food delivery startup, has raised $25M (approx €20.6M) in its Series A round of funding led by Draper Esprit. The round also saw participation from Team Europe, DST Global, and existing investors including Dynamo Ventures, Atlantic Bridge, and Elkstone.
Manna designs, builds, and operates unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to perform high-speed deliveries of takeaway food, groceries, and pharmacy goods/supplies of up to 3kgs (6.5lbs) in suburban last-mile settings.
The drones enable a single Manna employee (who manages multiple drones) to deliver almost 20 deliveries per hour – 10 times the number of deliveries done via road-based alternatives. Manna claims that its service is quieter, greener, faster, respects privacy, and is safer than road-based alternatives.
Nicola McClafferty, Partner at Draper Esprit, commented, “We are committed to supporting companies that have the potential to change how we live and Manna is a true example of this. Drones will play a key role in building a long term and sustainable delivery infrastructure for communities around the world and Manna is already making that a reality.”
Manna’s goal is to completely replace road-based delivery – reducing delivery times to a fraction of their current times in order to improve the consumer experience of food delivery. The company also believes that this will help save lives as it takes the dangerous process of road-based delivery into the skies.
Trials in Galway, Ireland
The company mentions in a statement that it is trialing its service in Galway – representing the largest drone delivery trial of its kind globally. The drone hub supports over 100 takeaway deliveries a day directly to the homes of the nearly 10,000 residents of the town, and has seen more than 30 per cent of the population already using the service.
The company has already partnered up with major brands and retailers such as JustEat, Samsung, Ben & Jerry’s, and Tesco plc – a grocery retailer in Europe. Manna takes only 3-minute delivery time to cover catchment areas as large as 50 square kilometers.
Using custom-developed aerospace grade drones, the company delivers directly from restaurants and centralised kitchens to consumer’s homes. The drones fly at an altitude of 80 metres and a speed of over 80kph – delivering within a 2 kilometer radius.
How will the funds be utilised?
Bobby Healy, CEO & 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.”
The raised capital will help Manna to expand its operations in order to offer services to more customers. Besides grocery and food, the company in the near future will also begin supporting critical medical deliveries.
Manna – Drone Delivery As a Service
Founded in 2018 by Bobby Healy, Manna provides drone delivery as a service stack to restaurant chains, dark kitchens, and online food delivery platforms.
The company claims that Manna Drone Delivery is the world’s first aviation-grade B2B drone delivery ‘as-a-service’ company. Its drone fleet – which is autonomous – is operated by the company directly from the restaurant or dark kitchen premises and is accessible via API to food tech providers and online food platforms alike in a channel-agnostic manner.
Bobby Healy provides a behind the scenes view of the company in action below.
Lukasz Gadowski, co-founder of Team Europe and also co-founder of Delivery Hero mentions, “With real customers and real deliveries already in place today, Manna has demonstrated the perfect model for drone delivery of takeout food, and I’m super-excited to see them expand and scale. The future is being rewritten.”
About Draper Esprit
Draper Esprit, which led this round, is a global venture capital firm that invests in high-growth European technology companies. It is listed on the AIM market (GROW) and the ESM segment of the Irish Stock Exchange.
The firm is very active in Europe and has completed 125 deals since 2006. It invests approx £150M (approx €172.45M) per year and now has a market cap of over £1B (approx €1.14B).
Draper Esprit’s portfolio of privately-owned tech companies is worth over £700M (approx €804.7M), and includes tech brands such as Trustpilot, Cazoo, and Revolut, as well as Europe’s global champions like UiPath, Graphcore, and ICEYE.