Manna lands Coca-Cola investment ahead of first US drone trial

16 Mar 2023

From left: Yannis Stamoulis of Coca-Cola HBC and Bobby Healy. Image: Manna

Dallas-Fort Worth is the next stop for Manna drone delivery trials after its successes in Dublin’s Balbriggan.

Irish drone delivery start-up Manna has received an investment from Coca-Cola HBC and separately announced its first US trial.

While the value of the investment has not been disclosed, the partnership with Coca-Cola HBC, the strategic bottling of The Coca-Cola Company, will give Manna access to central and eastern European markets over time.

One of the world’s most recognisable start-ups in the drone delivery space, Manna has also reached a significant milestone in its journey as a growing business with its first US trial in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

The trial is set to commence in partnership with multinational real estate development company Hillwood. Manna will begin making drone deliveries to a select number of Hillwood’s residential developments.

Founded in 2018 by CEO Bobby Healy, Manna is on a mission to disrupt the food delivery space using drones to eliminate the need for human drivers and reduce carbon emissions. The start-up, which has more than 100 employees in Ireland, has been trialling its technology since 2019.

Its most recent pilot has been in Balbriggan, Co Dublin, where it teamed up with local providers to provide fast and low-carbon deliveries to the 35,000-strong community.

“I really love to see Irish companies like Manna growing at home and then going global,” said Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, who is on a St Patrick’s Day visit to Washington DC, where the announcement was first made.

“The fact that Manna is now a foreign direct investor in the US is further evidence that our economic relationship with America is a two-way street.”

Miles Karemacher, general manager of Coca-Cola HBC in Ireland and Northern Ireland, said that the latest investment in Manna is part of a broader attempt 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,” he said.

“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.”

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Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic