Delivery bot firm Starship raises $40m
Written by Hannah McGrath
Automated delivery robot developer Starship Technologies has raised $40 million in its Series A funding round.
The California-based tech firm has pioneered the roll out of commercial food and grocery delivery bots at university campuses across the US in addition to trialling autonomous robot delivery at Tesco and Co-Op stores in the UK.
Goods are ordered via a smartphone app before being delivered anywhere within a limited radius. The bots are autonomous but monitored by humans who can take control at any time.
The funding round was led by Morpheus Ventures with participation from prior investors, including Shasta Ventures, Matrix Partners, MetaPlanet Holdings, as well as new investors TDK Ventures and Qu Ventures.
The funding round brings the company’s total funding to $85 million since it was founded in 2014.
News of the round came as the company claimed it had become the world’s first autonomous delivery company to hit 100,000 deliveries.
The company said it will use the new funding to rapidly expand its services to more university campuses beginning with an expansion of its service to 100 university campuses in the next 24 months.
Starship, also claims to have delivered over 6,000 pizzas, 7,000 gallons of milk, 8,000 coffees, 9,000 sushi rolls, 15,000 bananas and over 3,700 nappies in its autonomous bots.
The robots offer on-demand delivery anywhere on participating campuses via an app.
The battery-powered robots use a combination of sophisticated sensors and machine learning to travel on sidewalks and navigate around obstacles. Starship robots can cross streets, climb curbs, travel at night and operate in both rain and snow.
Nicolas Sauvage, managing director of TDK Ventures, said: “We’ve evaluated the autonomous tech market segment around the world, and Starship is miles ahead of others in bringing advanced technology valued by real paying customers.
“Starship’s machine learning, computer vision, and sensor fusion is the most advanced we’ve seen in autonomous robotic delivery. We look forward to contributing to the success of Starship in this important and emerging space.”