Starship Technologies: $40 Million Funding And 100 University Campus Expansion Plan

By Amit Chowdhry ● August 21, 2019
  • Starship Technologies, a leading autonomous delivery service, announced it raised $40 million in Series A funding

Starship Technologies — one of the world’s leading autonomous delivery services — announced that it raised $40 million in Series A funding. And Starship also just became the first to complete 100,000 commercial deliveries. On top of that, Starship is planning to expand its service to 100 university campuses in the next 24 months. For example, Starship is working with the University of Pittsburgh and Sodexo in anticipation of a launch in the fall and it will be launching at Purdue University on September 9.

With this round of funding, Starship has now raised a total of $85 million. And this round of funding was led by Morpheus Ventures with participation from prior investors including Shasta Ventures, Matrix Partners, MetaPlanet Holdings, and several others. New investors including TDK Ventures, Qu Ventures, and several others also joined this round.

The Starship robots use a combination of sophisticated sensors, artificial intelligence, and machine learning to travel on sidewalks and navigate around any obstacles. And Starship robots are able to cross streets, climb curbs, travel at night, and operate in both rain and snow. Since the robots are battery-powered, they reduce pollution as well as congestion by removing cars and vans from the delivery process.

Starship Technologies is operating commercially on a daily basis around the world. And its zero-emission robots have traveled more than 350,000 miles and crossed 4 million streets.

Starship does both restaurant and grocery deliveries around the world and has delivered over 6,000 pizzas, 7,000 gallons of milk, 8,000 coffees, 9,000 sushi rolls, 15,000 bananas as well as over 3,700 diapers.

“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,” said TDK Ventures managing director Nicolas Sauvage. “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.”

Starship had rolled out robot delivery to university campuses this year in partnership with food service management company Sodexo starting with George Mason University (Fairfax, VA) where it launched and then later expanded to Northern Arizona University (Flagstaff, AZ). Ever since the initial launches, both campuses increased the number of robots, dining options, and hours of operation to meet the demand for the service.

Starship was founded by two Skype co-founders, Ahti Heinla and Janus Friis. And former Airbnb executive Lex Bayer is CEO.

“This new investment will see Starship expand onto more campuses as we head towards a goal of offering our service to over one million students,” added Bayer. “An entire generation of university students are growing up in a world where they expect to receive a delivery from a robot after a few taps on their smartphone. The reception to our service both on campuses and in neighborhoods has been phenomenal. Our customers appreciate how we make their lives easier and give them back the gift of time.”

Along with university campuses, Starship also delivers groceries and packages in neighborhoods and a range of items on corporate campuses around the globe. Plus the company has also played a role in helping to bring legislation allowing Delivery Robots to operate on sidewalks across nine U.S. states, The District of Columbia and several countries.

The Starship Deliveries app is available for download on iOS and Android. And to get started, users choose from a range of their favorite food or drink items, then drop a pin where they want their delivery to be sent. From there, they can watch as the robot makes its journey to them via an interactive map. After the robot arrives, they receive an alert and can then meet and unlock it through the app. The delivery fees vary by locations but are typically $1.99 or less.