Starship Technologies, a robotics startup company developing small self-driving robotic delivery vehicles, has closed $40 million in Series A funding. The company plans to expand its robot food delivery to 100 university campuses in the next 24 months. 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. With the closing of this Series A funding round, Starship has now raised a total of $85 million.
Founded in 2014, the San Francisco, California-based Starship Technologies is a technology company building fleets of self-driving delivery robots designed to deliver food, groceries, and packages locally in minutes. The robots drive autonomously 99% of the time to make safe and environmentally friendly curb-side deliveries from a local hub. They drive autonomously but are monitored by humans who can take control at any time. The robots use a combination of sophisticated sensors, artificial intelligence, and machine learning to travel on sidewalks and navigate around any obstacles. 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 has its fleet of robots in 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. Since the initial launches, both campuses have increased the number of robots, dining options and hours of operation to meet the high demand for the service. Starship is working with the University of Pittsburgh and Sodexo to launch their services this fall and with Purdue University, Indiana on September 9, with more following shortly.
“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.”
“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 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.