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Sequoia, a16z and others back drone company

A couple of blue chip Silicon Valley venture firms have participated in a Series B round for a Drone company that’s launched a commercial drone service in Rwanda. Sequoia Capital and Andreessen Horowitz are backing Zipline in a $25 million round led by Visionnaire Ventures. Additional terms of the deal were not reported.

In partnership with the Government of Rwanda, Zipline has started delivering all blood products for 20 hospitals and health centers, sharply improving access to healthcare for millions of Rwandans. The new funds will be used to help Zipline expand its drone delivery services across Africa as well as enter other global markets.

Zipline’s autonomous drones deliver vaccines, medicines or blood in answer to healthcare workers’ request in hard-to-reach locations. Specially designed to carry medical products, a “Zip” can be launched promptly on the receipt of a text message, reach speeds of 100 kms/hour and land on an open area the size of a few car parking spaces.

“The inability to deliver life-saving medicines to the people who need them the most causes millions of preventable deaths each year,” Zipline CEO Keller Rinaudo told industry publication, Venturebeat. “Zipline will help solve that problem once and for all. We’re building an instant delivery system for the world, allowing medicines and other products to be delivered on-demand and at low cost, anywhere. This new funding will help make that vision possible much sooner.”

This latest round brings the total amount of capital raised by Zipline to $43 million and the company has already attracted investments from a group of notable investors in prior rounds including Google Ventures, Microsoft Co-Founder Paul Allen and Yahoo founder Jerry Yang.

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