Online restaurant guide and food ordering firm Zomato said on Wednesday that it has acquired drone start-up TechEagle Innovations with the aim of creating a path toward drone-based food delivery in India. The food ordering firm plans to create a hub to hub delivery network powered by hybrid multi-rotor drones of the Lucknow-based TechEagle.
Zomato did not disclose the amount they spent in the acquisition. Zomato has over 75,000 restaurant partners offering food delivery services across 100 cities in India and achieved 21 million orders a month in October 2018. The acquisition is expected to pave the future of food delivery in the country. Zomato stated that it already has a last mile delivery fleet of 1.5 lakh partners.
TechEagle was founded in 2015 by Vikram Singh Meena while he was still a student at IIT-Kanpur. From then on his venture has been actively involved in the development of unmanned aerial vehicles, with primary focus on custom-made drones capable of carrying up to 5 kg payload. “Zomato is one of the most innovative technology companies in India, and the only company with a singular focus on food. 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,” Meena said.
“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 CEO, Zomato.
Zomato’s first ‘delivery job’ currently is to design multi-rotor drones that will be able to carry payload up to 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.
It was in August this year that the government had announced regulations for flying commercial drones in the country which became effective from December 1, 2018. They don’t apply yet for delivery of food or for e-commerce, however.
Zomato also plans to launch its premium subscription programme, Zomato Gold, in Jakarta and Manila. HyperPure is slated to open its next centre in the NCR in a couple of weeks. Through HyperPure, Zomato has already delivered over 15,000 orders, moved 1500 metric tonnes of fresh produce and has orders booked for over $6m per month. Zomato’s corporate catering business, [email protected], has also been expanding.