Drone startup Manna raises cash for US expansion

Manna has raised $25 million to expand its drone fleet’s operations, including the addition of delivery services for prescription medical supplies and an initial expansion into the U.S.

A Manna Aero drone delivers a parcel during a flight demonstration in Dublin, Ireland. Photographer: Paulo Nunes dos Santos/Bloomberg

The Series A round was led by venture capital firm Draper Esprit and drew participation from Team Europe as well as existing investors Dynamo Ventures, Atlantic Bridge and Elkstone, the Irish company said in a statement on Thursday.

The startup — which designs, builds and operates drones to deliver restaurant food, groceries and pharmacy goods in suburban areas — said it will use the funds to scale its fleet and begin delivering prescription medical supplies. Manna’s drones can make a delivery in less than three minutes and the company says a single employee can manage multiple drones to make about 20 drop offs an hour.

Manna, which is trialing its service in Galway, Ireland, will also test its service in the U.S. this year and has plans to expand in Ireland and other European countries. The company recently hired Andrew Patton, a former executive at Alphabet Inc.’s drone delivery unit Wing, to head up its U.S. operations.

“There is a huge appetite for a greener, quieter, safer and faster delivery service, and we’re excited to use this fresh round of funding to expand operations,” Manna Chief Executive Officer Bobby Healy said in the statement. The company has partnerships with brands including Just Eat, Samsung, Ben & Jerry’s and Tesco.

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