On September 19th of this year, the entrepreneurs’ festival “Slush Singapore” was held in Singapore. Keller Rinaudo of the American company Zipline, which uses drones to deliver emergency medical supplies, sat down for a conversation with Taizo Son. Here is how it went.

Japanese version→

A conversation between Taizo Son (top right) and Zipline founder Keller Rinaudo at the entrepreneurs’ festival “Slush Singapore.” Photo by Takeshi Kojima

Taizo Son: Let me introduce you to a wonderful young person. Keller Rinaudo is one of the wisest people full of entrepreneurial spirit of anyone I’ve met over the past 20 years. Please give us a quick self introduction.

Keller Rinaudo: Sure. I’m Keller Rinaudo, the founder of Zipline. Our goal is for everyone, anywhere in the world, to have access to medical supplies. We have around 80 people in the company, and we develop and design everything from avionics to airframes to air traffic control software.

We’re currently using autonomous aircraft to deliver blood to places in the world where it’s difficult to access. One of those places is Rwanda in Africa. We’re managing a system to provide blood to around 25% of the country.

Son: Around how many unmanned planes (drones) are you currently flying in Rwanda?

Rinaudo: We call them Zips, and we have 15 to 30 of them stationed at each delivery center. We’ve also just announced a contract with Tanzania, and we plan to station 120 Zips there.

Son: 120 Zips?

Rinaudo: Yes. This will be enough to serve around 1000 medical facilities and around 12 million people, the equivalent of 25% of Tanzania.

Son: That’s amazing. So how did you recruit your developers?