African drone delivery startup, Zipline, has raised $250 million in new funding to expand its logistics networks across Africa and the United States.
The funding round was led by Baillie Gifford and with support from returning investors Temasek and Katalyst Ventures. New investors like Fidelity, Intercorp, Emerging Capital Partners and Reinvest Capital also took part in the raise.
This latest round comes after the startup raised an undisclosed Series E in January and a $120M series D in 2019. This brings its total funding to $483M over 8 rounds.
According to the company, the venture round was raised at a valuation of $2.75 billion.
Pioneers of logistics delivery in Africa
Founded by Keenan Wyrobek, Keller Rinaudo and Will Hetzler in 2014, Zipline kicked off by delivering medical supplies across Africa.
The company delivered blood, vaccines, life-saving medications and other essential supplies using autonomous electric drones.
Zipline started operations in Rwanda in 2016, then later expanded to Ghana, the United States and Nigeria.
Zipline has started working with Nigeria’s Kaduna and Cross River States.
Since it commenced operations, the startup has partnered with logistics company UPS, the Toyota Group in Japan, Walmart and Novant Health in the United States.
Zipline was one of the companies that benefited from the pandemic. The company leveraged the situation to further accelerate its operations by delivering personal protective equipment (PPE) and more importantly COVID-19 vaccines.
The company said it is planning to deliver 2.4 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine by the end of the year.
Zipline plans to use the new influx of funds to fulfil new contracts that it has made across its markets.
In the last few months alone the company has signed service contracts for five new distribution centers in Nigeria and four in Ghana, as well as multiple new service contracts with hospital systems in the United States.
Although Zipline’s current focus is on healthcare logistics, its CEO Keller Rinaudo has revealed that in the long run, it may start to focus on other industries.
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