Flyby Robotics, the end-to-end drone automation and delivery company, announced that they have raised $4M in seed investment funding. The round was led by Mac Venture Capital, with participation from Weekend Fund, Anthemis, and Evening Fund. Other strategic investors include Naval Ravikant, (Co-Founder of AngelList); Balaji Srinivasan, (Finance and former CTO of Coinbase); Karen Pritzker, Gaingels, Ryan Hoover (Founder at Product Hunt); and Cliff Sirlin (Managing Director at LaunchCapital).
Flyby Robotics is building end-to-end automation for drone delivery. Founded by a team of engineers out of Yale, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and Anduril, Flyby was created to unlock the labor-saving potential of UAV technology for every merchant. Such delivery methods are faster and more affordable than car-based courier systems
“You don’t have to be a multibillion-dollar corporation or a global military superpower to reap the economic benefits of autonomous drones,” says Jason Lu, Founder & CEO of Flyby Robotics. “Our AI-powered autonomous systems allow any merchant to dramatically reduce the cost of delivery to their customers.”
This news comes alongside their pilot launch and a series of active partnerships with food retailers and innovative snack brands across the US. The first cohort of live retailers include smoothies from Nekter Juice Bar, salad from MAD Greens, sushi from Tokyo Joe’s, and crunchy shiitake mushroom chips from Popadelics. During the live pilot, customers from participating retailers are able to order drone delivery for just $3, and experience delivery times averaging under 4 minutes.
“Flyby’s entrance into the Mesa market further enhances the Greater Phoenix region’s vision to be the smartest and most connected region not only in the United States but across the world,” says Dr. Diana Bowman, Associate Dean and Professor, Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law and Co-Director, Center for Smart Cities & Regions, Arizona State University. “Their launch in Mesa should be viewed as a paradigm shift in food delivery services, allowing customers to not only more easily connect with local restaurants, but also receive their fresh food faster. The Center for Smart Cities and Regions at ASU is delighted to partner with innovative companies such as Flyby as we work collectively to advance our smart region vision.”
“Nekter Juice Bar has always pushed forward to the forefront of technology to improve the guest experience, starting with our best-in-class app with more than 1.3 million loyalty members and user-friendly online ordering capabilities,” says Steve Schulze, co-founder and CEO, Nekter Juice Bar. “We are now continuing that tradition of innovation working with future-looking companies like Flyby.”
This pre-seed will fund product development with the goal of achieving Level 4 autonomy for Flyby’s flight systems, which currently perform at Level 3. At Level 4 autonomy, drones operate without any human intervention throughout the delivery process, but allow a pilot in a remote command center the option to manually override in rare circumstances.
“We saw in the Flyby team the tenacity and technical rigor to execute on a game-changing idea,” says Adrian Fenty, Founding Managing Partner at MaC Venture Capital. “We’re excited to watch drone delivery transform retail over the next 5 years.”
Flyby has already developed an industry-leading package deployment system, which gently winches products down from a hovering drone to customers’ doorsteps. The system is designed to uphold a product’s quality during flight and delivery, and allows Flyby to deliver fragile products like smoothies without spilling a drop.
“Partnering with Flyby was a no-brainer for us; Popadelics Crunchy Mushroom Chips aren’t just a snack - they’re an experience, which drone delivery further amplifies,” says Marilyn Yang, co-founder and CEO of Fun-Gal Snacks, the parent company of Popadelics. “We see many future possibilities for drone delivery for the Popadelics brand in partnership with Flyby.”
“The City of Las Vegas’ Innovation District is excited about drone delivery and its potential to reduce traffic, heighten technological development in the region, and provide more sustainable delivery infrastructure”, says Michael Sherwood, Chief Innovation Officer at the City of Las Vegas and its Innovation District, a future launch partner. “In addition to providing economic and employment opportunities.