Bono Is Really Into Drones Now (But It’s Good)
Monday, September 16, 2019
By Adele Peters
On a Tuesday morning, U2 frontman and global philanthropist Bono stood in a remote field near Half Moon Bay, California, and launched a drone in the air, watching as it made a test delivery. Zipline, the eight-year-old Bay Area startup that makes the drones, uses the equipment to make emergency deliveries of life-saving drugs and blood to health clinics and hospitals in Rwanda and Ghana.
For the musician, who just joined the company’s board—his first, and only, company board membership—it’s the next step in two decades of work outside of his music career. “My story with Zipline actually started 20 years ago,” he says, turning to Zipline’s CEO, Keller Rinaudo. “How old were you 20 years ago, Keller?”
“I would have been 12,” Rinaudo says.
“So Keller’s 12. And I was in Malawi, in Lilongwe, and I was watching people be diagnosed HIV positive and then being told that there was no treatment for that.” The drugs that they needed existed, but they couldn’t get them. “I can still visualize the look in the eyes of those people in that queue as they were told that there was no treatment for their disease or that they couldn’t access these antiretroviral therapies,” Bono says.
Photo courtesy of Andrew Turner.