NEW DELHI: Zomato has acquired a drone delivery startup TechEagle Innovations for an undisclosed amount, as it looks to enable a drone-based delivery ecosystem in India.
Lucknow-based TechEagle Innovations works exclusively on drones and will help Zomato’s ambition to create technology that will power hub to hub delivery networks powered by hybrid multi-rotor drones.
TechEagle was founded in 2015 by Vikram Singh Meena when he was a student at IIT-Kanpur. Since then, his young venture has been actively involved in the development of unmanned aerial vehicles, with prime focus on custom-made drones capable of carrying up to 5 kg payload.
“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,” said Deepinder Goyal, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Zomato.
Last mile delivery
Zomato’s 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,” said Mr. Goyal. Zomato said it currently delivers 22 million monthly orders and has a last mile delivery fleet of 1.5 lakh partners.
Zomato has over 75,000 restaurant partners offering food delivery services across over 100 cities in India. It acquired Runner last year. “We are excited to be a part of the team and together build something which will certainly play a significant role in the future of primary and secondary logistics in the food supply chain in India,” added Meena.
The government in August this year announced regulations for flying commercial drones in the country and said they will be effective from December 1, 2018. However, they don’t apply yet for delivery of food or for e-commerce.
The acquisition came after Zomato announced earlier this week that Durga Raghunath, currently chief executive at Indian Express Digital Media Services, will be joining the company as Senior vice-president-Growth, effective December 21.