Drone delivery startup Flytrex announced last week that it has raised $8 million in new funding. According to Bloomberg, most of the round came from previous backers including Benhamou Global Ventures and European venture fund Btov, and is part of a bigger round that will close later this year. This brings the total amount of funding raised by Flytrex to $20.3 million.
Tel Aviv-based Flytrex has been making commercial drone deliveries since 2018. As of 2020, Flytrex had completed more than a thousand deliveries in Reykjavik, Iceland. The company has also been operating on a limited basis here in the U.S. Last year it was making deliveries at King’s Walk golf course in North Dakota, and announced a pilot program with Walmart to make deliveries in Fayetville, North Carolina.
As Bloomberg pointed out, the only FAA-approved drone delivery operators in the U.S. are Alphabet’s Wing, Amazon and UPS. But the FAA also issued new rules around drone safety and nighttime flying rules at the end of 2020, which should allow for more approvals for startups such as Flytrex and Deuce Drone, which is doing grocery deliveries in Alabama.
Though there are sill a number of regulatory and safety hurdles to be worked out, we’re starting to see drone delivery literally take off in different parts of the world. In Ireland, Manna is doing 50 – 100 drone deliveries a day. In Brazil, iFood is aloft, and in Israel, Dragontail Systems has partnered with Pizza Hut for pizza drone delivery.
As rules are clarified, and assuming these pilot programs prove themselves economical, we should start to see an acceleration of similar announcements around done delivery funding and expansion here in the U.S.
If you are interested in the future of drone delivery, be sure to attend our ArticulaATE food automation and robotics virtual conference on May 18!