Sunday, March 3, 2024

Coca-Cola HBC backs Irish drone delivery start-up Manna

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Drone delivery company Manna has been backed by Coca Cola HBC, with the company making a strategic investment in the Irish founded firm.

The Irish company also announced its first US trial for its drone delivery services, with Fort Worth in Dallas chosen as the newest test location.

The value of the investment by Coca-Cola HBC, the strategic bottling partner of the Coca-Cola Company, was not disclosed. The partnership with Manna will see it help to change the route to market with a more sustainable approach, and also help achieve its net zero emission by 2040 pledge.

“Coca Cola is one of the most well-known brands in the world,” said Manna founder Bobby Healy. “It was a huge endorsement that they chose us and that they decided to bet on drone delivery.”

The partnership will also bring valuable business insights to Manna, with plans to work together to identify opportunities for the drone delivery company to grow across Coca-Cola HBC’s territories.

“Our partnership with Manna Drone Delivery, one of the most innovative drone delivery start-up companies in the world, encapsulates our ambition to deliver our products in new and more sustainable ways,” said Miles Karemacher, general manager of Coca-Cola HBC Ireland and Northern Ireland. “Together we will further enhance our position in this rapidly developing distribution channel and progress our sustainability commitments. For us on the island of Ireland this partnership provides an incredible opportunity to be at the forefront of disruptive technologies across the worldwide consumer packaged goods (CPG) market.”

The partnership is expected to offer new growth opportunities for Manna, with the Ventures arm of Coca-Cola HBC targeting collaborations with start-ups that fit with its ambitions in last mile and sustainability.

“What they bring to the table is not just their products but it’s the marketing and distribution know how,” said Mr Healy. “ They’re going to provide a huge amount of insight into the cost of purchasing behaviour. We’ll be starting in third gear instead of first gear when it comes to retailing those types of products.“

The trial in the Dallas/Fort Worth is being carried out in partnership with multinational real estate development company Hillwood. As part of the trial, drone delivery will be offered to a select number of Hillwood’s residential developments, a significant milestone for the company.

Founded in 2018 by Mr Healy, Manna has developed aviation-grade drones that fly at 80km/h and deliver goods including groceries, takeaways and medicines, within a 3km-radius in less than three minutes. A single aircraft can do 100 deliveries a day, with up to 20 aircraft capable of being remotely managed by one Manna employee.

Manna currently offers its services in Balbriggan in Dublin, supporting up to 280 deliveries a day for the area’s population of around 35,000.

The company also plans to launch its service in another Dublin suburb, although it has not yet revealed exact details other than it has a population of about 100,0000.

Manna employs more than 100 staff in Ireland, UK and USA.

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