London VC puts money in £18M funding round of Irish drone delivery startup Manna

Manna Image credits: Manna

Manna is an Irish food delivery startup that builds and operates unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) that perform high-speed, last-mile deliveries of food, groceries and pharmacy foods or supplies of up to 3 kg. Now, the UK company just raised $25 million (nearly £18 million) Series A funding.

Investment led by London VC

Draper Esprit, a London-based leading venture capital firm that invests in and develops high-growth digital tech businesses, led the investment round in Manna. The other investors in the drone delivery startup include Team Europe, DST Global and existing investors Dynamo Ventures, Atlantic Bridge, and Elkstone.

Manna sees a huge appetite for a greener, quieter, safer, and faster delivery service. As a result, the company will use the investment to expand operations and offer its services to more customers. Already, it is working with partners to deliver grocery products, takeaways, and pharmaceutical supplies.

Bobby Healy, CEO & founder of Manna, commented: “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. We are already working with our partners to deliver grocery products, takeaways and pharmaceutical supplies, and as we continue to scale our fleet of drones we will also begin supporting critical medical deliveries.”

Nicola McClafferty, Partner at Draper Esprit, added: “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. We are thrilled and privileged to be supporting Bobby and the Manna team as they create the future of food delivery.”

More efficient than traditional delivery

Autonomous delivery enables a single employee to manage multiple drones to operate almost 20 deliveries per hour, which is ten times the number that can be done with traditional road-based delivery.

Currently, Manna is trialling its service in Galway, Ireland, representing the largest drone delivery trial of its kind in the world. The drone hub offers support to more than 100 takeaway deliveries a day directly to the homes of almost 10,000 residents of the town. This trial has been quite a success with over 30% of the population using the high-speed drone delivery service.

Founded by Bobby Healy in 2018, Manna has signed partnerships with major brands and retailers including JustEat, Samsung, Ben & Jerry’s and Tesco plc. It eyes to deliver to catchment areas that are as large as 50 square kilometers in just three minutes.