Starship Technologies, which was launched in July 2014 by two Skype co-founders and is building a fleet of autonomous robots designed to deliver goods in 15 to 30 minutes within a two to three-mile radius, has announced $17.2 million in seed funding.
The round was led by Daimler AG, along with Shasta Ventures, Matrix Partners, ZX Ventures, Morpheus Ventures, Grishin Robotics, Playfair Capital as well as several other investors.
The investment will allow for further development and new pilots for the project with robots developed by the company having already covered around 16,000 miles in 16 countries and 59 cities. Recent new testing sites have included Washington DC, Redwood City, California and Fayettevill Arkansas.
“Starship is reinventing the last mile transportation process, allowing convenient and sustainable robotic delivery,” said Ahti Heinla, CEO, Starship Technologies. “This funding further accelerates development of our technologies and enables us to launch pilot programs in several new markets”.
The company entered a partnership with Daimler-owned Mercedes-Benz last year to develop and test ‘Robovan,’ the world’s first transportation system integrating specifically adapted vans with autonomous delivery robots to create greater delivery efficiencies.
“Starship Technologies and Mercedes-Benz Vans share a strong vision: We both strive to fundamentally change the way we think about the delivery on the last mile. Together, we will make that vision come true and show the potential of robotic delivery devices in a combined holistic transportation system. Starship’s unique technology fits perfectly with our vans”, said Volker Mornhinweg, head of Mercedes-Benz Vans.
Hardi Meybaum, general partner at Matrix Partners said the involvement brought the business full circle. “Our investment in Starship is special because one of Matrix’s earliest investments was FedEx; Starship is bringing us full circle with the future of delivery using autonomous robots.”
Starship Technologies is running commercial delivery pilot programs in the US, UK, Germany, Switzerland and Estonia with partners like Just Eat, Hermes, Metro Group, Swiss Post, Wolt and others offering robotic delivery for the food, grocery and parcel industries.
Image credit: Starship Technologies