Robot delivery startup Starship Technologies raises $90 million

Starship Technologies, a pioneer in transforming science fiction into reality with its delivery robots operating in the US and Europe, has announced a $90 million investment, co-led by Plural and Iconical.

This latest round of funding increases Starship's total investment to $230 million since its inception in 2014. The company intends to use this capital to fuel its global expansion, capitalising on the surging demand for home delivery services.

Since launching in 2014, Starship's delivery robots have become a familiar presence on the streets of Europe and the US, establishing the company as the leading provider of autonomous delivery services worldwide. With over six million deliveries to date, Starship operates in 80 locations globally, including the US, UK, Germany, Denmark, Estonia, and Finland. The robots offer a more energy-efficient delivery solution than traditional methods, transporting a range of items from food to office supplies directly to customers’ doors.

Addressing the last mile of the supply chain, traditionally the most expensive and carbon-heavy segment, has positioned Starship at the forefront of efforts to tackle this logistical challenge. With the online food delivery market expected to significantly grow by 2030 and carbon emissions from last-mile deliveries in Europe anticipated to reach 5.5 million tonnes in 2032, Starship presents an economical, ethical, and sustainable delivery alternative.

Starship's robots, capable of operating for 18 hours on a full charge, exemplify efficiency by using no more energy than required to boil a kettle for a single cup of tea. To date, the use of these robots has cut down almost 1.8 million kg of carbon dioxide emissions, offering a greener solution and a more ethical approach to deliveries, serving clients such as Bolt, Co-Op, Grubhub, and Sodexo.

In its quest for perfecting autonomous delivery, Starship has developed robots that are 99% autonomous, capable of navigating through challenging conditions such as snow and obstacles. The introduction of wireless charging technology at George Mason University represents a significant advancement, with plans to expand this feature worldwide, enhancing the efficiency of the delivery process.

The company's commitment to innovation extends to its workforce, comprising top engineers, data scientists, and specialists across multiple countries. The fresh investment will support further advancements in AI, machine learning, and wireless charging infrastructure. Starship aims to broaden its international reach, particularly through its Delivery as a Service (DaaS) product, integrating its autonomous robots into the delivery systems of partner companies.

Ahti Heinla, Co-founder and CEO at Starship Technologies, said: “Autonomous delivery isn’t some science fiction concept from Bladerunner for decades in the future, it’s a reality for hundreds of thousands of people every day. Building a company like Starship takes at least a decade of perfecting the technology, streamlining operations and reducing costs to make last-mile autonomous delivery viable and sustainable at scale. Now we’re ready to take on the world and with ambitions to build a category-dominating company that can change the daily lives of millions of people in thousands of locations worldwide.”

Taavet Hinrikus, Partner at Plural, said: “Starship is the global leader in autonomous technology, built in Europe. For the past 10 years, the team have been working tirelessly to build the most advanced autonomous logistics technology in the world, driving more miles and making more deliveries than any other company, whilst reducing the impact of last-mile and on-demand delivery on the planet. The culmination of this hard work over the past decade and this new funding means Starship is well-positioned for accelerated growth. We’re looking forward to supporting Ahti and the team on this journey to becoming one of Europe’s most successful global companies.”