Tallinn-based Starship Technologies, an autonomous delivery service company, announced on Tuesday that it has secured $90M (approximately €83.7M) in a funding round, co-led by Plural and Iconical.
The new funding brings the total raised by Starship to $230M (approximately €214M) since its creation in 2014. The announcement comes a couple of years after raising €50M as a quasi-equity facility agreement with the European Investment Bank (EIB).
The Estonian company will use the fund to enhance its AI and machine learning technology, as well as its wireless charging infrastructure as it expands to new markets worldwide.
The ultimate goal is to improve the company’s Delivery as a Service (DaaS) product and make it available to more customers worldwide.
What does Starship Technologies aim to solve?
The last-mile and on-demand delivery, known as the most expensive and carbon-intensive segment, has posed challenges for logistics worldwide.
Despite this, rising demand for swift deliveries, especially in the online food delivery sector, is projected to double by 2030.
In Europe alone, last-mile delivery is forecasted to emit 5.5M tonnes of CO2 by 2032, equivalent to emissions from 1.2 million gas-powered cars.
Here’s where the Estonian company tries to address the problem.
Starship has developed a cost-effective, ethical, and sustainable solution for short-distance delivery, tackling key issues in the last-mile delivery industry.
Starship Technologies: Revolutionising deliveries
Starship Technologies was co-founded in 2014 by Janus Friis (Skype co-founder) and Ahti Heinla (Skype chief architect), who is also CEO.
The company aims to revolutionise deliveries with autonomous robots designed to deliver food, groceries, and packages locally in minutes.
Each Starship robot can run for 18 hours fully charged, and the average delivery takes only the same amount of energy as boiling a kettle for a single cup of tea.
Since its launch, the company claims to have reduced almost 1.8M kg of carbon dioxide.
Also, by using robots, rather than humans on low wages riding through traffic, it has pioneered a more ethical, sustainable business that customers, including Bolt, Co-Op, Grubhub, and Sodexo, use.
To date, delivery robots have travelled over 11 million miles and completed over six million autonomous deliveries worldwide.
The delivery robot is operational in 80 locations across the world, including the US, UK, Germany, Denmark, Estonia, and Finland.
Starship Technologies says its robots are 99 per cent autonomous and can react safely to difficult situations and obstacles, including snow, rocky terrain, and blockages en route, with three crossings made on average every second globally.
It took six years for Starship to reach one million deliveries and half that to complete the next five million, claims the company.
Ahti Heinla, Co-founder and CEO at Starship Technologies, says, “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.”
Plural is an early-stage investment fund that backs the most ambitious founders on a mission to change the world through technology.
Plural was launched to give serious founders in Europe investors the experience to match their ambition.
The company’s mission is to have a GDP-level impact on Europe, address systemic risks, and reduce the opportunity gap worldwide through the companies it backs.
Taavet Hinrikus, Partner at Plural, says, “Starship is the global leader in autonomous technology, built in Europe. For the past 10 years, the team has been working tirelessly to build the most advanced autonomous logistics technology in the world, 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. The culmination of this hard work over the past decade and this new funding means Starship is well-positioned for accelerated growth. We’re looking forward to supporting Ahti and the team on this journey to becoming one of Europe’s most successful global companies.”