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MIT-founded Aviant takes off: Drone delivery startup launches home delivery service and secures €1M funding for expansion

Aviant team
Picture credits: Aviant

According to Fortune Business Insights, the drone delivery market is set to grow from $998 million in 2020 to $31 billion in 2028, with an annual growth rate of 24,4%. Over 2,000 drone deliveries are made worldwide each day, ranging from emergency supplies in remote areas to urban food delivery. 

At this point in time, MIT-founded Norwegian drone logistics startup Aviant has launched a home delivery service called Kyte. This service can deliver groceries, takeaway food, and non-prescription medicines to sparsely populated areas and holiday homes in Norway. 

To open second base in Norway

In addition to the launch of Kyte, Aviant has landed an additional €1 million of public funding from Innovation Norway. Previously, the company closed a seed round of €2.3 million in 2022 in a round led by Bring Ventures, the venture arm of the Norwegian postal service. 

With the investment, Aviant is in plans to open a second base in Norway in 2023, which will enable it to serve 20,000 to 30,000 remote holiday homes with door-to-door deliveries. 

The company aims to autonomously deliver vital prescription medicines directly from pharmacies to people in remote and suburban areas, where mobility is quite challenging due to long distances and factors such as bad roads or extreme weather conditions. Later, the company is planning to bring drone home delivery to most of the Norwegian population, and EU markets.

“Our technology proved critical for rural healthcare services during the pandemic, where winter road closures meant our drones were the only link between Covid-19 test sites and laboratories in Central Norway. Now, with the launch of Kyte and our funding from Innovation Norway, Luminar Ventures, and Bring Ventures, we are able to provide people in remote and hard-to-reach areas with the groceries and medical supplies they need, directly to their doorstep, with no traffic restrictions and minimal climate emissions,” said Lars Erik Fagernæs, founder and CEO at Aviant.

“Aviant has the perfect combination of proven, reliable technology, great people, and a market ready for the taking,” added Anett Berger Sørli, Investment Manager at Bring Ventures. “We invested in Lars Erik and the team because we see drone delivery as central to the future of logistics, and being able to launch Kyte within such a short timeframe shows how driven this team is to lead us to that future.”

How is Aviant different from other drone delivery services?

Aviant was founded by Lars Erik Fagernæs, Herman Øie Kolden, and Bernhard Paus Græsdal at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 2020. Unlike other solutions such as Google Wing or Manna Drone Delivery, Aviant’s drones are capable of flying as far as 120 km in a straight line, similar to an airplane. 

With an increased efficiency and speed, Kyte’s delivery range is significantly higher than other airborne door delivery services and can deliver within a 30 km radius for return flights, compared to the 2 to 3 km offered by other providers. In addition to this, Aviant is certified under EU regulations to operate autonomous flights within the union.

During the pandemic, Aviant has delivered 12 commercial contracts in Norway and Sweden, most notably transporting Covid-19 tests and blood samples between district hospitals and central hospitals during the pandemic. The company has operated over 2,500 autonomous flights, covering more than 35,000 km.

In addition to this, customers can request delivery through the Kyte app, where they can choose from various groceries, ready meals, and light medicines. Once the order is placed, the drones are loaded with the ordered items at Kyte’s home base before they autonomously deliver the package and return to base. To date, the service has made deliveries covering a distance of over 4,000 km, with an average delivery time of 24 minutes.

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