Each week, we review the press, highlighting and responding to interesting and relevant articles in the news.

Source: Alamy

(Last) Mile-High Club

A recent report from the Business Research Company estimated that the global delivery drone market will grow from $0.68B in 2020 to $0.99B in 2021, eventually reaching $4.40B at a CAGR of 45.1% by 2025. Though COVID-19 disrupted supply chains and manufacturing, the commercial drone industry is rebounding with significantly more demand than supply as businesses sought contactless solutions. Where there is demand, startups will follow. Wing, Alphabet’s drone shipping firm, found a 500% boost in usage in spring of 2020. Flirtey, too, saw excellent growth in 2020.  Delivery drones seek to solve last-mile delivery by reducing delivery costs and time. McKinsey reported companies can save 40% on delivery costs, thereby enjoying a 15-20% increase in their profit margin. However, there are a number of hurdles to overcome before these cuts in delivery costs are realised, including safety measures, security, and manufacturing costs.

Source: Luminar and Zenseact

AV, Take The Wheel

Luminar and Zenseact, Volvo’s autonomous vehicle (AV) software subsidiary, teamed up last week to announce Sentinel, a “holistic autonomous vehicle stack.” The goal of the partnership? Complete highway autonomy, where drivers become passengers and AVs take the wheel. At the moment, advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) are not the most intelligent, with significant driver supervision necessary. The entire goal of ADAS and AV is to reduce accidents by employing lidar sensors and autonomous driving software. Zenseact claims that their system can reduce accident rates by up to 7x. As highways are the most populated roads with high incident reports, the development of highway autonomy has the potential to revolutionise the safety of our roads. Additionally, while most AV innovation has centred around robo-taxis, Sentinel focuses on series production vehicles, to be delivered to the entire industry, not just Volvo.

Source: Kuda

Kudos to Kuda

Kuda has raised $25M led by Valar Ventures. This follows a $10M fundraising led by Target Global in November. Kuda is a neobank, a fee-free banking and money management solution accessible via mobile app. Founded in Nigeria in 2019 by Babs Ogundyi and Musty Mustapha, Kuda has a goal of making banking more accessible and rewarding for Nigerians and the entire African diaspora. This is one of the largest seed rounds ever to be raised by an African startup, signalling a turning point for the African tech industry. We are excited to see what Kuda can do to disrupt and revolutionise banking in Africa!