Zipline: Life-Saving Drone Service Redefining the Supply Chain

Published 25 May 2023
Reference 6667
Topic Operations
Region Global
Length 19 page(s)

Zipline delivers medical products via unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). With its expansion to Ghana in 2019, Zipline became world’s largest medical drone-delivery service, reaching over 25 million people. Founded in 2014 by Keller Rinaudo (CEO) and Keenan Wyrobek (CTO) in Half Moon Bay, California, Zipline is different from its Silicon Valley peers and has big ambitions: to serve 700 million people in need of medical supplies by 2024. The case study sheds light on the company, its drone technology and its new approach to the delivery of medical supplies. It also illustrates the difficulties ahead as it expands operations.

Teaching objectives

This comprehensive case study features Zipline, a young company operating first-of-a-kind unmanned aerial vehicles. It describes the technology, initial use cases, and its development from a small startup in Silicon Valley to a fully fledged drone-delivery operation with unicorn status. It covers issues that regularly confront young organizations implementing new technologies in the social impact sector, including the regulatory environment, the novelty of the solution, and financing. It can be used in Technology and Operations Management courses to highlight key aspects of new logistics technologies and supply chain management, and also to discuss business model innovation and social entrepreneurship.

  • Drones
  • Operations
  • Social Entrepreneurship
  • Acess to Health
  • Use of New Technology
  • Business Model Innovation
  • Vaccine Delivery
  • Essential Medecine
  • Africa
  • Technology Startup
  • Supply Chain Design
  • Low- and Middle- Income Countries
  • Rwanda
  • Ghana
  • Q22023