An Indianapolis-based startup that has created what it calls the “mailbox of the future” is getting close to a product launch. DroneDek has developed and patented a high-tech mailbox designed for secure drone delivery and recently secured more than $1.2 million in funding. Chief Executive Officer Dan O’Toole says the company has come to terms with the city of Lawrence for a new building that will serve as the DroneDek headquarters.

O’Toole discussed the company’s growth plans in an interview on Inside INdiana Business with Gerry Dick.

“We’re getting ready to announce some testing regimes,” said O’Toole. “We’re taking delivery of our new prototypes in the beginning of Q2 and we’re excited about early-stage talks we’re having with Fishers right now as well as Lawrence and we’ve got some new announcements that are going to be coming out with some great, huge logistics companies that will hopefully be involved as well.”

DroneDek’s smart mailbox features a cargo area to receive and store packages delivered by drones. It can hold any type of package up to a certain size and also has heating and cooling features.

The mailbox is connected to a smartphone app that can not only notify users when a package has been delivered, but also turn on the heating or cooling as needed, depending on what is being delivered.

“It’s one thing to receive items through drone delivery, but everything you gain with fast, efficient, cost-effective delivery of autonomy, you lose when you drop an item on somebody’s porch or on their yard,” said O’Toole. “For that reason, you need to complete the last-mile solution with a secure platform like DroneDek, so that’s what we’re doing.”

O’Toole says 91% of items that are purchased on the internet are five pounds or less, which makes them drone deliverable. He says shipping via drones creates cost benefits for distributors and security benefits for customers.

The company’s recent funding round included a combination of investments from angel investors, as well as a crowdsourcing campaign. O’Toole says the capital raise continues through that campaign, which will end on April 30.

“We’re looking to launch into the marketplace in the next 18 months and it’ll be a very deliberate, strategic launch, saturating specific zip codes, but we’re getting very close to rollout.”

As it prepares to set up its new headquarters, DroneDek says is also planning to create up to 85 jobs.