Avion is an Ethiopian company that develops & implements a drone-based medical supplies delivery system. Avion’s solution is focused on increasing reach to remote areas in Africa (developing countries) that are unreachable through conventional modes of transportation & logistics. Avion does this through its drone-based delivery system that delivers medicine, and vaccination to these areas.
Avion drones are hybrid and autonomous with vertical take-off capabilities. The drones can deliver medicine and vaccinations that weigh 5-kg payloads as far as 150 km. The drones are manufactured to deliver medicine & vaccinations with long and medium-range medical drones tied to a centralized hub.
After making several test flights both in private and in public, Avion development was validated by the Ministry of Innovation & Technology and Ministry of Health Ethiopia. Following that the team was given permission to advance development & apply its drone delivery services nationwide.
The founders Biruk, Mohamed, and Bitiya are friends from high school. They have been working on different startup projects proposing solutions for several problems. Previously the team developed a health management system deployed in Black Lion hospital, a USSD based data collection system for the mega Green-Legacy campaign, and more.
Avion joined Y-Combinator’s Winter 2020 batch and is the first Ethiopia-based startup to do so. Y-Combinator (YC) is an American seed accelerator, started in March 2005. It provides seed money, consultation, and connections through a 3-month long program that is run twice a year. In exchange for all the support, it provides YC takes an average of 6% equity from the companies in its program. Avion received $120K in seed investment from YC.
Being able to be part of YC, has not just furnished their confidence but helped them to solve the major problem they had with access to foreign exchange that left the project stranded for a year, mentioned the Avion team.
Now with the seed money and reputation Avion received, they plan to launch there project right away. The first phase of the operation will include six-city stations with 24 drones and an average of 120 daily flights and 2600 flights monthly. These flights will reach more than 2000 health centers that do not have access to medical supplies.
Avion intends to make Addis Abeba a drone production hub. In addition, the startup plans to expand its service to other African, Latin American, and South Asia countries with their existing business model.