2019-05-20 Toyota Tsusho invests in U.S. Zipline International Inc.
- Collaboration in Drone logistics field -
Toyota Tsusho Corporation ("Toyota Tsusho") has invested in a U.S. startup, Zipline International Inc. ("Zipline"), in its Series C funding round in June 2018, and entered into a business tie-up with Zipline with the aim of promoting collaboration in the drone logistics field, expected as a new mobility service. Toyota Tsusho is the first business company from which Zipline has accepted investment.
In recent years, drone development has progressed rapidly through technological innovation, and the drone market is expected to expand globally. Drones are used for various purposes, such as taking images and measurements, infrastructure inspection, crop dusting, logistics, disaster response, and sports. Drones are expected to be utilized, particularly in logistics in areas where infrastructure for delivery by land has not been developed, as an unprecedented mobility service.
2. Purposes of Capital and Business Tie-up
In October 2016, Zipline started a logistics service using drones to deliver blood products for transfusion to hospitals in Rwanda as a world’s first, and has successfully commercialized drone logistics covering the whole country. The company has made more than 13,000 deliveries and now covers more than 65% of Rwanda’s blood supply outside of the capital, Kigali. In December 2018, it set up a new logistics center in Rwanda and has expanded the commodities it deals with to include other medicines. Zipline also began a drone logistics service in a second country, Ghana, in April 2019.
Since making this investment, as well as co-developing the drone logistics service with Zipline globally, Toyota Tsusho has been promoting collaboration in fields including Zipline’s technology development and operational support by utilizing its expertise gained in its automotive-related businesses.
Toyota Tsusho will continue to promote initiatives for responding to the drone market, which is expected to expand in the future.
This is a project of NEXT Technology Fund, a Toyota Tsusho internal fund.
Overview of Zipline
| Company Name ||Zipline International Inc. |
Zipline’s distribution center
| Headquarters ||California, United States of America |
| Established ||August 2011 |
| Representative ||Founder & CEO Keller Rinaudo |
| Business description ||Drone development and manufacturing, software development, drone logistics operation |
| Countries where operates ||Rwanda, Ghana |