The much-promised leap into the U.S drone delivery market by Irish-based Manna, is happening after a strategic investment by Coca-Cola HBC, reports a press release. The investor is a bottling partner of The Coca-Cola Company.
Through its Ventures arm, Coca-Cola HBC collaborates with “disruptive start-ups that have synergies with its business ambitions in the areas of last mile, vending, coffee technology and sustainability.”
Last September, during an evtolinsights.com interview with Manna’s Founder and CEO, Bobby Healy, the company’s ambition to enter the U.S market was briefly discussed.
The “strategic collaboration” will provide important insights and expertise from a market leading beverage company, and over time, the two organisations aim to work together and identify other opportunities for Manna to scale across Coca-Cola HBC’s territories, including central and eastern European markets.
Miles Karemacher, General Manager, of Coca-Cola HBC Ireland and Northern Ireland said, “Our partnership encapsulates an ambition to deliver our products in new and more sustainable ways. Together we will further enhance our position in this rapidly developing distribution channel and progress our sustainability commitments.” Adding, “For us on the island of Ireland this partnership provides an incredible opportunity to be at the forefront of disruptive technologies across the consumer packaged goods market.”
Bobby Healy, commented, “We are delighted to partner with Coca-Cola HBC on our journey to bring a new form of delivery to suburban homes and as we start to scale globally. Having a brand like Coca-Cola HBC onboard is a testament to the realisation that last mile delivery can be done in a more efficient, safer and greener way.”
Manna also announced it will commence a trial in the Dallas/Fort Worth area in partnership with multinational real estate development company Hillwood, to initially offer drone delivery to a select number of the company’s residential developments.
Bobby Healy (centre) Alongside Leo Varadkar and Enterprise Ireland Members
Hillwood is the developer of AllianceTexas, a 27,000-acre mixed-use, master-planned community and home to the Mobility Innovation Zone. The partners have co-created a plan to make lightning-fast drone delivery service available.
Christopher Ash, senior VP of aviation business development for Hillwood, explained that the mixed-use development provides a unique environment to test new technologies. “At Hillwood, we are a team collaborating to bring innovative supply chain technologies to North Texas and provide next-level amenities to the communities we reach.”
Healy continued, “This investment and support comes at the right time, as we announce a significant milestone, our first U.S trial with Hillwood developments. These partnerships are to be integral for our growth as we begin to scale globally.”
Irish Politician and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar TD, a major supporter of Manna Drone Delivery, remarked, “Manna is a great example of Irish innovation, transforming industries and partnering with global brands. I wish them every success for this new venture.”
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