$3m investment will raise Manna to the heavens

Bobby Healy’s Manna has raised $3m ($2.7m) in a seed round and will shortly begin trialling food deliveries in Ireland via aerial drones.

The new funding brings to $5.2m the amount raised in seed funding by Healy’s start-up. Healy was identified by ThinkBusiness as one of 20 entrepreneurs to watch as well as 20 start-ups to watch in 2020.

Manna has raised the latest funding from Dynamo VC, a fund focused on logistics. Manna has already attracted backing from venture capital firms Elkstone Capital and Frontline Ventures.

“Drones are the end for road delivery”

The company’s drones are designed to fly in all weather and do not fly above 500 feet, which keeps them out of the airspace of planes.

Manna wil begin offering deliveries in 2020 initially from a rural locations before moving to bigger towns and cities, enabling online meal ordering platforms to deliver meals to customers in local communities within three minutes of being cooked.

The sky is the limit

The drones will hover 10 metres above the ground and the food will be lowered via a biodegradable linen string. Each drone will have a range of 40 square kilometres from the restaurant base.

Manna is understood to have teamed up with another Irish company called Flipdish which has devised an online delivery platform that is used by restaurants ante takeaways.

The drone fleet will be operated directly by the restaurant or “dark kitchen” premises and will be accessible via a software interface to food tech providers and online food platforms.

Founder Healy previously built and sold Eland Technologies before playing an instrumental role in growing CarTrawler to a 500-person operation.

Speaking at The Real Deal 2019 event in November, Healy said: “Drones are the end for road delivery. People die every year delivering hamburgers. We have an ambitious team and strong backers. There is nothing between us and success that I am aware of.”

Written by John Kennedy (john.kennedy3@boi.com)

Published: 19 December, 2019