|16 January 2017|

Germany

A UK-based start-up trailblazing the roll out of ground-based, autonomous delivery robots has secured $17.2 million in seed funding.

Starship Technologies is running commercial delivery pilot programs in the US, UK, Germany, Switzerland and Estonia with partners like Just Eat, Hermes, and Swiss Post, and others offering robotic local delivery services for the food, grocery and parcel industries. The robots keep food at the desired temperature, acting like mobile delivery coolers.

The funding round was led by Daimler AG, along with Shasta Ventures, Matrix Partners, ZX Ventures, Morpheus Ventures, Grishin Robotics, Playfair Capital and a number of other investors.

“Starship is reinventing the last mile transportation process, allowing convenient and sustainable robotic delivery,” said Ahti Heinla, CEO, Starship Technologies and co-founder of Skype. “This funding further accelerates development of our technologies and enables us to launch pilot programs in several new markets.”

Volker Mornhinweg, Head of Mercedes-Benz Vans said: “The robot can only travel short distances under its own power and until now has had to return to the warehouse to be reloaded after each delivery. On the one hand, the introduction of the van as a mobile hub widens the operational radius of the robots significantly, while also rendering superfluous the cost-intensive construction and operation of decentralised warehouses. We see the combination of these two technologies as an opportunity to give our van customers access to some completely new services and business models. At the same time, we make the delivery process much more convenient for the end customer. For example, the concept makes it much easier to deliver goods to the end customer on time.”