Autonomous airship logistics company, Cloudline, took top honours last night at the inaugural Fast Company SA Most Innovative Companies Awards held in Cape Town. The event was held to acknowledge and celebrate South African ingenuity and complements the on-street edition of the magazine in which all 25 top nominees will be featured.
Cloudline was launched in 2017 and has gone on to grab world attention for its innovative approach to delivering essentials to people without access to all-weather roads (or any roads at all).
The heavy payload delivery solution is a long-distance champion, able to go for hours and hours. It is as ideal for use in developed economies, as it is for emerging economies. For example, it can transport medical supplies to a rural village just as easily as it could to someone stranded in snowfall on a mountain top in Switzerland. The balloon-like drones use cutting edge technology to track and monitor and keep aloft, and have a long range capacity of 200km. The applications for the technology are endless. These attributes, among many, is what made Cloudline stand out as the Fast Company Most Innovative Company for 2020.
Fast Company’s editor-in-chief, Wesley Diphoko, had this to say: “The entries we consider for publication as the most innovative company of the year, are always of a high quality, interesting and inventive. This year was no exception.
“In the end though, it was Cloudline who stood out by a mile with their solution to advance and uplift society, especially addressing the needs of the ‘bottom billion.’ It was an easy decision for our judging panel to unanimously select them as this year’s winners. My sincere congratulations to Spencer Horne and his team for developing this critically needed solution to vital last mile logistics. We look forward to seeing where you go next.”
The top five winners of the night were:
Diphoko also noted that as access to technology is becoming more pervasive, so the ability to innovate increases. This also brought about an escalation in the number of entries to this year’s awards, with high expectations and anticipation for what the 2021 edition will attract.The Awards evening was also the platform at which technology investment giant, Ayo Technology Solutions (AYO), announced their new R200 million annual technology and innovation fund. The fund is aimed at supporting start-ups with actioned proof of concepts, gain access to funds to help them scale.