Valqari, a Chicago startup building smart drone delivery mailboxes, has landed new financing from an aerial drone imagery company that’s also gearing up to manufacture its devices at scale.
AgEagle Aerial Systems, a drone and aerial imagery-based data collection and analytics company based in Wichita, Kansas, has invested $500,000 in Valqari, according to documents filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, and entered into a two-year exclusive contract with Valqari to produce its drone delivery mailboxes.
Valqari, founded in 2017 by Ryan Walsh and Alex Falesch, makes a smart mailbox that can securely receive packages, groceries, pharmaceuticals, meals or anything else delivered by a drone. Ultimately, Valqari aims to solve the “last-inch logistic problem” by creating a device that can open and close to receive a drone package.
The station is seven and a half-feet high and has six separate storage units to accommodate multiple drone and traditional postal deliveries or pickups. Valqari’s device also notifies users of every delivery or pickup.
Valqari says it has been issued utility patents in 14 countries and territories including the U.S., the U.K., Germany, China, Hong Kong, Macau, Australia, South Africa and several other countries in the European Union.
As more tech companies, such as Amazon and Uber, have expressed interest in delivering goods by drone, Valqari aims to create a universal drone mailbox that accepts delivery from any type of drone maker. On Amazon Prime Air’s website, the company says it is developing a service that will deliver packages to customers in 30 minutes or less using drones. In August, Amazon Prime Air received “air carrier” designation from The Federal Aviation Administration.
Additionally, Walmart expanded its drone delivery services with a pilot program to deliver Covid-19 self-collection testing kits to customers cities around the U.S.
“The excitement surrounding the use of commercial drones for package delivery is giving rise to an entire new ecosystem being built to support the industry,” said AgEagle CEO Michael Drozd, in a statement. “Effective solutions for ground support, like Valqari’s Drone Delivery Station, will prove to be a vital, fundamental component of this new ecosystem, helping to ensure the promising potential of mainstream drone package delivery is fully realized.”