Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company (HBC) has agreed to make a strategic investment in Irish drone-delivery company, Manna, through its venture capital arm, Coca-Cola HBC Ventures. Manna is a drone-delivery company that offers fully autonomous drones for last-mile delivery with the goal of replacing road-based delivery. Coca-Cola HBC is a leading bottler of Coca-Cola Company’s beverages, and its geographic market includes around 30 countries across Europe, Asia, and Africa. The investment is in line with Coca-Cola HBC’s digital solutions business strategy. The market reacted favorably to the announcement, and Coca-Cola HBC’s share price increased by approximately 6.5%. The strategic partnership, aligned with the financial investment, implies a potentially high ROI for Coca-Cola HBC on the investment, assuming it can execute the strategic plan.
Founded in 2018, Manna is a “drone delivery as-a-service” company that offers fully autonomous drones for last-mile delivery. By allowing users to place an order through their app, Manna is leveraging the convenience and ease of mobile technology to make the ordering process simple and accessible. Additionally, the real-time tracking of the drone delivery adds to the reliability and transparency of Manna’s service by providing customers with up-to-date information on the status of their delivery. Each Manna Aero drone can make 7 to 8 deliveries per hour at 50 miles/hour (80 km/hour) at a cost of ~10% of a human driver in a car. The company’s latest drone, the “X-drone,” can carry up to 7.5 pounds (3.5 kg) of cargo in a hold with ~30,000 cubic centimeters of space (~1,800 cubic inches). Manna’s technology allows for items to be delivered within a 2km radius within three minutes. The company has already completed over 100,000 delivery flights in Ireland.
Manna announced its plans to expand its operations to mainland Europe in March 2023 by leveraging Coca-Cola HBC’s access to these territories and separately announced its first US trial. Manna has entered a commercial partnership with multinational real-estate development firm Hillwood to conduct trials in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. The partnership with Coca-Cola HBC aims to bring business insights to Manna, with the companies planning to work together to identify opportunities for the drone delivery company to grow across Coca-Cola HBC’s territories in a way that should give Manna access to central and eastern European markets over time.