It’s time for another round-up of interesting stories from our portfolio companies! Although summer has provided much needed time off for many of us, our portfolio has been keeping busy.
June was another big month for Zipline, asserting its increasingly important role in the global vaccine program. They’ve partnered with Pfizer again to develop a safe, fast and equitable global distribution of all vaccines. Back in 2019, the two companies already formed a collaboration to provide instant access of urgent medicines, such as the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, to rural areas in Ghana. The new partnership is expected to greatly reduce shipping stress and expired waste of any vaccines through on-demand ordering.
Meanwhile, more investors are accelerating Zipline’s new logistic model development. In June, Zipline raised $250 million funding from new investors such as Fidelity, Intercorp, Emerging Capital Partners and Reinvent Capital. Aiming to provide instant medical supply for the many, the funds will be used to advance Zipline’s autonomous delivery system and integrated service, as well as support its continued expansion into new regions.
"We really want to show that the right technology company with the right mission can help every person on the planet.” - Florence Haruna, Zipline's Performance Operations Head.
This month, Zipline also launched the world’s largest autonomous medical drone delivery network in Ghana by adding four more service centres. Each centre is equipped with 30 drones that can make 500 deliveries every day, serving 2,000 health facilities and 12 million people across the country. For many years, supplying life-saving medicines to patients located in rural regions on time has been a headache. Now with Zipline’s 24/7 on-demand delivery, nearly 90% of the population in Ghana can get instant access to vital medications for diseases such as Yellow Fever and Covid-19.
“So much of the conversation these days is about this growing idea that tech is not benefiting a vast majority of people,” says Florence Haruna, Zipline’s Performance Operations Head. “We really want to show that the right technology company with the right mission can help every person on the planet.”
Ananas Anam and its pioneering vegan leather alternative Piñatex continue taking the fashion world by storm. After partnerships with renowned brands like Hugo Boss and H&M, they collaborated with Nike on its first-ever animal-free sneaker collection, “Happy Pineapple”. Featuring some of Nike’s most iconic designs such as Air Force, consumers can now buy these beloved styles more ethically.
Furthermore, the exclusive UK department store Selfridges began selling luxury bags made from Piñatex by the circular accessory brand Mārīcī, as part of the store’s ‘Project Earth’ luxury designer edit. “We hope to create an elevated luxury product that offers low environmental impact and high social responsibility. To offer a kinder alternative to Mother Earth whilst not compromising on aesthetics and quality,” comments Founder and Designer of Mārīcī Amanda Navaian.
"We’ve partnered with Ignitia as they have the best weather forecast machine learning in the industry.” - Bernardo Arnaud, CEO of Starksat.
Lastly, our Index Award 2017 Finalist Ignitia also secured new financing. With $4.2 million, the smart weather forecasting company will extend its agricultural support into new markets such as Brazil. “We’ve partnered with Ignitia as they have the best weather forecast machine learning in the industry,” says Bernardo Arnaud, CEO of Starksat. Meanwhile, Managing Director of IKEA Social Entrepreneurship Åsa Skogström Feldt shares that they want to continue supporting Ignitia so that “they can scale their work and make a better everyday life for millions of more small-holder farmers around the world.” By 2030, Ignitia expects to increase its impact and reach 200 million tropical farmers.