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Reach for the stars: Company behind delivery robots secures $17m investment

THE COMPANY behind the fleet of more than 100 delivery robots in Milton Keynes has attracted two major investors with a total $17 million in funding.

Starship Technologies is also celebrating after passing the “significant” milestone of completing one million autonomous deliveries.

The investment by Goodyear Ventures and TDK Ventures brings Starship’s funding to a total $102 million and comes after the business expanded its UK operations into Northampton in November.

The additional funding comes at a time of increasing interest in the autonomous delivery industry. Contactless delivery has proved to be one of the most reliable ways to protect vulnerable populations and enable social distancing during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Starship Technologies robots have passed the 1 million deliveries milestone.

Starship has continued to see exponential growth since starting its first commercial delivery service in 2018. In the past year, the company has seen order numbers in Milton Keynes triple and, with 120 robots, the town is home to the world’s largest fleet of autonomous robots. 

A further 30 robots are serving residents in Northampton, with operations set to scale up further in the coming weeks.

Starship Technologies co-founder and chief executive Ahti Heinla said: “Completing one million deliveries is a milestone that everyone at Starship is celebrating. We are delivering a fully commercial service operating 24-7 across five different countries now doing thousands of deliveries a day and millions of autonomous miles per year. 

“This scale puts Starship on par with the biggest companies in the self-driving car market when it comes to miles travelled in the last year alone. We are proud to be offering a crucial service that is now becoming part of everyday life for millions of people.”

The Starship Food Delivery app is available for download on iOS and Android. To get started, users choose from a range of their favourite food or drink items, then drop a pin where they want their delivery to be sent. 

They can then watch as the robot makes its journey to them, via an interactive map. 

Once the robot arrives, they receive an alert and can then meet and unlock it through the app. 

A delivery robot navigates its way through The Hub in Central Milton Keynes.

Starship has also confirmed that it has added service in the USA to two new university campuses – UCLA and Bridgewater State University (Massachusetts). UCLA is regularly considered one of the top public schools in the USA, while Bridgewater State University offers one of the country’s most distinguished Teacher and Education programmes.

“Goodyear Ventures is very excited to join Starship’s journey as it revolutionises the autonomous delivery space,” said Abhijit Ganguly, senior manager, Goodyear Ventures. 

“Goodyear’s trusted services footprint combined with its custom solutions for autonomous vehicle companies comprise a solid platform to support Starship in the market. Goodyear Ventures fuels the future of mobility by partnering and investing in seed-to-growth-stage startups in emerging mobility technologies.”

Starship Technologies operates commercially on a daily basis around the world. Its zero-emission robots have travelled millions of miles and make more than 50,000 road crossings every day. 


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