Robot delivery startup Starship Technologies raises $90 million to deliver groceries to your doorstep

Estonian robot delivery startup Starship Technologies has successfully secured $90 million in funding, marking a significant achievement after the company surpassed 11 million miles and completed over six million autonomous deliveries worldwide.

The investment round was co-led by existing backers Plural, a venture capital firm rooted in Estonia and London, and Iconical, a London-based investor supported by Janus Friis. Starship’s previous backers include NordicNinja, the Finnish-Japanese firm, the European Investment Bank, Morpheus Ventures, and TDC.

The latest investment brings Starship’s total funding to $230 million. With this latest injection of capital, Starship plans to further enhance its AI and machine learning technologies, as well as expand its wireless charging infrastructure

This expansion will particularly focus on its Delivery as a Service (DaaS) product, where Starship robots integrate into the delivery infrastructure of its partners as it expands to more international markets.

Founded in 2014 by former Skype co-founders Janus Friis and Ahti Heinla (who serves as CEO), Starship initially tested its self-driving delivery robots in London. Since then, these six-wheel robots have been deployed in 80 locations globally, including the US, UK, Germany, Denmark, Estonia, and Finland, facilitating the last-mile delivery of various items, from food and groceries to small packages.

Starship’s sidewalk-bound fleet of robots boasts energy efficiency superior to human delivery methods, reducing the carbon footprint associated with last-mile delivery. Notably, each robot can operate for 18 hours on a single charge, with deliveries consuming minimal energy.

The company’s expansion in the US has primarily targeted college campuses, addressing the challenges of last-mile and on-demand delivery, known for its high costs and environmental impact. Starship’s solution offers a cost-effective and sustainable alternative, significantly reducing carbon emissions.

By leveraging robots instead of low-wage human labor, Starship has introduced an ethical and environmentally friendly delivery model, trusted by notable partners such as Bolt, Co-Op, Grubhub, and Sodexo.

Starship’s robots, which operate autonomously 99% of the time, can navigate diverse environments and obstacles safely. The recent introduction of wireless charging at George Mason University marks a significant advancement, enhancing operational efficiency and supporting the company’s vision of a fully autonomous delivery system.

In a statement, Ahti Heinla emphasized that autonomous delivery is no longer a distant sci-fi concept but a reality benefiting hundreds of thousands daily. He expressed confidence in Starship’s ability to revolutionize daily life globally.

“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,” Heinla said.

Taavet Hinrikus of Plural highlighted Starship’s leadership in autonomous technology, praising its decade-long commitment to innovation and sustainability. He expressed optimism about the company’s future growth and its potential to become a European success story.

Taavet Hinrikus, Partner at Plural, said: “Starship is the global leader in autonomous technology, built in Europe. For the past ten years, the team has worked tirelessly to build the world’s most advanced autonomous logistics technology, 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.

Hinrikus added, “The culmination of this hard work over the past decade and this new funding means Starship is well-positioned for accelerated growth. We look forward to supporting Ahti and the team on this journey to becoming one of Europe’s most successful global companies.”

We covered Starship about three years ago after it partnered with Estonian ride-hailing food delivery startup Bolt to deliver food in 45 countries.