Estonian-founded robotic delivery company Starship Technologies has raised USD90 million in funding, which it will use to expand globally as it looks to capitalise on the relentless rise in demand for home deliveries.
Launched in 2014, Starship’s delivery robots have become a common sight on the streets of Europe and the US.
The robots, which can be found in 80 locations around the world, including the US, UK, Germany, Denmark, Estonia and Finland, use less energy than humans to deliver takeaway food, grocery orders, tools and company documents to customers’ doors, the company said in a statement.
Last mile and on-demand delivery, the most costly and carbon-intensive aspect of the supply chain, has been a stumbling block for logistics companies around the world, yet demand for rapid delivery of food and other goods is growing, according to the company.
Leveraging ongoing advances in AI
“The online food delivery market in particular is expected to more than double by 2030, whilst the carbon emissions from last-mile delivery in Europe alone are expected to reach 5.5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide in 2032, the equivalent to 1.2 million gas-powered cars,” the company said.
The new round of investment will allow the company to take advantage of continued advances in AI and machine learning to further develop its artificial intelligence, engineering and wireless charging infrastructure as it expands internationally into more markets – particularly with its “delivery as a service” product, which integrates Starship robots into its partners’ delivery infrastructure, the company said.
The investment round was co-led by Plural, an early-stage investment fund, and Iconical, a fund that supports breakthrough technology startups and ideas.
Starship’s robots are designed to deliver food, groceries and packages locally in minutes. The delivery robots have travelled over 11 million kilometres and completed over six million autonomous deliveries around the world.