Estonia-born Starship Technologies, a robotics company that builds fleets of self-driving goods delivery robots, announced on Tuesday that it has agreed to a €50M quasi-equity facility agreement with the European Investment Bank (EIB).
The lending arm of the European Union (EU) and one of the largest providers of climate finance, the EIB supports projects that promote the priorities and objectives of the EU. This financing is also supported by the European Fund for Strategic Investments and has been facilitated via a venture loan.
European Commissioner for the Economy, Paolo Gentiloni, says, “This EIB funding for Starship is a great example of how the Investment Plan for Europe can boost innovation in Europe. The additional funding will benefit the development of the company’s autonomous delivery services, thereby further improving services for consumers and contributing to Europe’s vibrant research, technology, and innovation ecosystem.”
Starship says the proceeds from this round will be used by the company for its research and development, including the building of thousands more robots at Starship’s engineering and innovation facility in Tallinn.
Alastair Westgarth, CEO of Starship, says, “This backing from the EIB will help enable us to continue to reshape last-mile delivery and bring the benefits of on-demand delivery and convenience to millions more people. The additional engineering resources that we will hire in Europe will be another key component in making this possible.”
EIB Vice-President Thomas Östros adds, “Electric vehicles in all shapes and sizes will be part of our future, and can be a key part in the sustainable transport puzzle. Starship’s delivery robots are already proving their worth, and we are glad to support the company so that they can continue to develop their technology and scale up their production.”
Building a network of robots ready to serve anytime, anywhere
Starship Technologies was co-founded in 2014 by Skype co-founders Ahti Heinla and Janus Friis, and is currently led by CEO Alastair Westgarth. The company claims to be revolutionising deliveries with autonomous robots that are designed to deliver food, groceries, and packages locally in minutes.
Starship builds and operates a network of self-driving robots that are electrically powered and can drive autonomously. They are also monitored by humans who can take control at any time.
Currently, the platform offers its services in many parts of the EU, the UK, and the US – in cities, university campuses, and industrial campuses – and aims to further expand in the near future.
Starship robots have been operating at L4 since 2018 and can do deliveries everywhere it operates – entire cities and campuses. On a daily basis, Starship robots complete numerous deliveries in a row 100 per cent autonomously, including road crossings.
The company’s zero-emission robots make more than 100,000 road crossings every day, have completed more than 2.5 million commercial deliveries and travelled 5 million kms globally, more than any other autonomous delivery provider.
In January 2021, the autonomous delivery services startup raised $17M (approx €14M) in a funding round from Goodyear Ventures – Goodyear’s venture capital arm – and TDK Ventures. Prior to that, it raised $40M (approx €33M) in August 2019.