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Restaurants are the Focus of Drone Startup Zipline’s Growth as it Reaches One Million Deliveries

Zipline, a drone company that has delivered one million packages, is targeting restaurants as a market.

The autonomous drone delivery startup Zipline announced on Friday that it had made one million deliveries to consumers and that, as part of its next stage of expansion, it is looking to partner with restaurants.

The San Francisco-based firm creates, constructs, and manages autonomous delivery drones. Its clientele includes large corporations like Walmart and GNC as well as over 4,700 hospitals, including the Cleveland Clinic. More than $500 million has been raised thus far from investors, such as Google Ventures, a16z, and Sequoia Capital. Additionally, Zipline is a CNBC Disruptor 50 business.

According to the corporation, its emission-free drones have delivered over 10 million products and flown over 70 million autonomous commercial miles across four continents.

Two bags of IV fluid were delivered to a nearby medical facility from a Zipline distribution station in Ghana on the historic one millionth delivery.

The startup will add Memorial Hermann Health System in Houston, Panera Bread in Seattle, and Jet’s Pizza in Detroit as it grows.

According to Zipline CEO Keller Rinaudo Cliffton, the company has delivered 70% of its goods in the last two years, and its long-term objective is to distribute one million packages every day.

“The three areas where the incentive really makes the most sense today are health care, quick commerce and food, and those are the three main markets that we focus on,” stated Rinaudo Cliffton. “Our goal is to work with really the best brands or the best institutions in each of those markets.”

He stated that the trend toward restaurant collaborations is a “obvious transition” because of the rising demand for same-day meal delivery. Customers currently receive food deliveries from Walmart via Zipline.

According to Rinaudo Cliffton, “we need to start using vehicles that are light, fast, autonomous, and zero-emission.” “Delivering in this way is 10 times as fast, it’s less expensive … and relative to the traditional delivery apps that most restaurants will be working with, we triple the service radius, which means you actually [get] 10 times the number of customers who are reachable via instant delivery.”

Chief Operating Officer Ron Bellamy of the Panera franchisee stated that Zipline deliveries for a few Panera stores in Seattle are anticipated to start early in 2019. Even in a context of inflation, delivery keeps growing for its firm, he said. He continued, saying that costs with Zipline are expected to be comparable to those of third-party delivery at first, with the goal of those costs eventually declining.

Bellamy expressed encouragement, saying, “I’m encouraged about it, not just even in terms of what I can do for the business, but as a consumer, I think at the end of the day, if it is economical, and it delivers a better overall experience, then the consumer will speak,” 

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