"Smart" Mailboxes for Drone Delivery
DRONEDEK makes “smart” mailboxes that provide safe storage for delivered packages.
Its patented delivery receptacles have climate-controlled technology, and an array of security features that keep packages safe from weather, animals, and thieves.
These mailboxes can be used to ship or receive items sent by drones, robots, autonomous vehicles, or conventional delivery systems.
Every day, 100 million items are purchased online. 91 million of them are five pounds or less, making them “drone deliverable.”
Drone delivery is one of the fastest-growing segments in the logistics industry. In August 2020, Amazon received clearance from the Federal Aviation Administration to deliver packages using unmanned aerial vehicles. And last December, the FAA established new rules for drones used in package delivery.
Said an FAA administrator at the time, “The new rules make way for the further integration of drones into our airspace by addressing safety and security concerns. They get us closer to the day when we will more routinely see drone operations such as the delivery of packages.”
The benefits to drone delivery are numerous. Using drones can reduce delivery costs as much as $1 billion every 11 days. These airborne vehicles will also reduce traffic congestion and greenhouse gas emissions.
This is an exciting opportunity. But it’s potentially problematic. 1.7 million packages are stolen in the U.S. every day. And as autonomous and drone delivery becomes more common, this number is sure to increase.
The bottom line: there is a need for smart, secure package delivery and storage. DRONEDEK can provide this need.
As mentioned, its mailboxes can store items intended to be shipped or received — either through robotic delivery, aerial drone delivery, or conventional delivery.
Its features make it the most advanced delivery receptacle on the market. These include a motorized door, cushioned platform to prevent package damage, lowering platform for increased package capacity, climate-controlled environment, letter slot for traditional mail, and UV disinfection.
Mailboxes can communicate with drones using GPS sensors and Bluetooth technology. And security features include a mounted camera and passcode/key fab access.
The potential for DRONEDEK’s mailbox goes beyond packages from Amazon or FedEx. More than 600 million items are delivered every day — from food and drinks to prescription drugs. DRONEDEK can safely store all of these.
The idea for DRONEDEK stems from a 2014 business meeting taken by the company’s Founder, Dan O’Toole. Dan was returning home and his path took him down a rural two-lane road. As he drove, he saw a drone flying beside him, and began to wonder how it could carry a package straight to a person’s door safely and efficiently.
Soon after, Dan filed for a patent for a safe, secure delivery box, and received the first utility patents for secured drone delivery storage.
This turned out to be a game-changing decision. It turns out, DRONEDEK beat out Amazon — which had also filed for the patent — by just nine days. And it beat the U.S. Postal Service by two weeks.
Dan’s initiative now has DRONEDEK in excellent position in the drone delivery market. Not only could this startup collaborate with these companies, but it could also become a sensible acquisition.
DRONEDEK has developed the first version of its receptacle and will use funds from this round to continue development on a second version.
Once on the market, customers will be able to rent the mailboxes and have them installed at their homes or offices. The cost to rent will be $10 per month, and will include access to DRONEDEK’s mobile platform. DRONEDEK will aim to generate additional revenue from monetizing customer data collected via package deliveries, and fees from licensing its mailboxes to future customers.
Neerav has extensive experience working with drones. He co-founded Aerotronic, a company designing and building unmanned aerial vehicles. This company was backed by TechStars, a prominent accelerator for startups.
Before that, he was a principal with PRN Associates, an aviation and aerospace company, and prior to that was a sourcing manager with Kaiser Permanente, a healthcare company.
Earlier, Neerav spent four years as a program manager with Sun Microsystems, a computer manufacturing company. Prior to that, he was a manager with Telamon, a telecommunications company.
He earned a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from the London School of Economics and an MBA from Purdue.
Richard has extensive financial experience.
Most recently, he was owner of CFO Solutions, a financial consulting business with customers across the construction, manufacturing, and retail industries. Before that, he was a project director with Cogent Analytics, a management consulting company.
Earlier, he was Chief Financial Officer with Diamond Management, which provides financial strategies to private investment firms. This company was spun out of Columbia Management, where Richard served as CFO for 11 years. He began his career as an accountant with RJ Pile, an accounting firm.
He earned a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting from Ball State University and an MBA from the University of Phoenix.
Greg’s background includes nearly three decades in the logistics and security industries.
He spent 27 years as Assistant Inspector in Charge with the U.S. Postal Service. From there, he became a security consultant with the National Football League.
More recently, he was a manager with CNO Financial Group, an insurance company. He started his own flooring installation company in 2016, and joined DRONEDEK in June 2020.
Greg earned a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting from Indiana University.
John has advised DRONEDEK in a legal capacity since 2019. He has a strong background in patent procurement and litigation.
Prior to joining the company, he was a patent attorney for 18 years. During that time, he was CEO of Bolt-a-Blok, makers of a concrete and steel structural system for the construction industry. He also served as Chief Operating Officer at General Motors’ Portugal Division.
John earned a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics and a Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. He also earned a Law degree from Indiana University.
Prior to starting DRONEDEK, Dan worked in real estate as CEO of Striker Realty Group. Before that, he spent 13 years as CEO of Facility Maintenance, a provider of nationwide commercial maintenance services.
He earned a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing from Ball State University.