Robotics startup Starship Technologies closes $40 million to expand its food-delivery robots into 100 college campuses
Starship Technologies, a robotics startup company developing small self-driving robotic delivery vehicles, has raised a $40 million Series A funding round to expand its robot food delivery to 100 universities globally over the next two years. The round was led by Morpheus Ventures, with participation from prior investors Shasta Ventures, Matrix Partners, MetaPlanet Holdings and others participating. New investors TDK Ventures, and Qu Ventures.
Founded in 2014, the San Francisco, California-based Starship Technologies is a technology company building fleets of self-driving delivery robots designed to deliver goods locally within 30 minutes. The robots drive autonomously 99% of the time to make safe and environmentally friendly curb-side deliveries from a local hub. Launched by Skype co-founders, Starship’s aim is to fundamentally reshape how goods are shipped and delivered, and make local delivery, ultimately, free.
Starship Technologies currently serves George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, and Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Arizona. Students order food through an app and food management company partner Sodexo delivers it via robot.
“We have seen tremendous pickup at these colleges and so many universities have reached out to us asking to use our service,” Bayer said. “There are no food delivery options on most campuses today, so students take notice. We find that when one university uses our service others notice and we get inquiries from a lot of rival colleges that are in the same area.” Bayer said Starship has no specific geographic map it plans to follow to expand, but it expects to offer service to two or three new universities each month with 25 to 50 robots per campus, Bayer said.
“We are excited to become a TDK Ventures portfolio company,” said Lex Bayer, CEO at Starship Technologies. “TDK has been a world leader in advanced technology and electronics for decades and we look forward to working with their team as we focus on the next stage of commercializing our business as we expand the roll out of autonomous robot deliveries to more and more communities around the world.”
Starship Technologies is founded by Skype co-founders, Ahti Heinla and Janus Friis, and led by former AirBnB executive, Lex Bayer. The company has developed autonomous delivery robots that use a combination of sophisticated sensors, artificial intelligence and machine learning to deliver goods locally in minutes. Since the company’s founding, these robots have traveled over 350,000 miles to complete more than 100,000 autonomous deliveries.
Starship also has engineering operations in Tallinn, Estonia. Starship also has offices in London, UK, Germany, Washington DC and Mountain View, California. The company employs a total of 250 people, including 30 to 40 in the Bay Area. It moved its headquarters here from London in 2018.