Zomato acquires Indian drone startup TechEagle, aims at drone-based delivery in future

“TechEagle’s custom-built, multi-rotor drones will play a key role in establishing an unmanned, hub to hub delivery network.”

Online food indexing and delivery company Zomato has acquired TechEagle Innovations — an Indian startup that works on drone innovations. The valuation of the acquisition by Zomato has not been disclosed yet. With this acquisition, Zomato is setting up to reinforce its food delivery technology in terms of the future. In a statement released to the press, Zomato states that TechEagle “will help Zomato carve a path toward drone-based food delivery in India, creating a hub to hub delivery network powered by hybrid multi-rotor drones.

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At present, the food delivery business accounts for 65 percent of Zomato’s net overall revenue. This marks a definite rise towards the demand of food delivery, since even in January 2018, 35 percent of Zomato’s revenue was generated from food delivery. To bolster its on-ground services, Zomato acquired delivery services startup Runnr to aid its last mile coverage. However, the company is affirmative that automated delivery services will play a major role in delivering food in future. TechEagle’s custom-built, multi-rotor drones, on this note, will play a key role in establishing an unmanned, hub to hub delivery network. The drones being built by the startup are capable of carrying up to 5kg payload.

Deepinder Goyal, founder and CEO of Zomato, said in a statement, “We are currently at the early stage of aerial innovations and are taking baby steps towards building a tomorrow wherein users can expect a drone to deliver the food they ordered online. Our first ‘delivery job’ currently is to design multi-rotor drones that can pick up a payload under 5 kg and set up drone delivery circuits for reducing the last mile delivery leg. We believe that robots powering the last mile delivery is an inevitable part of the future and hence is going to be a significant area of investment for us.

Zomato presently offers food delivery services in about 100 Indian cities, with over 75,000 restaurants and 1.5 lakh last mile delivery partners catering to a claimed figure of 22 million monthly delivery orders placed on the platform. Drone delivery services have been in the fray for a long time now, with Amazon experimenting with drone-based package delivery systems in international markets. While there are potential issues in this system, it will be interesting to see the birth of this new technology, and how it works out in the long run.