Investing in Starship: Automating the last mile delivery bottleneck


NordicNinja joins Starship Technologies’ investment round of $100m as demand for its autonomous delivery service triples in 2021.


SAN FRANCISCO & LONDON (March 1, 2022) Starship Technologies, the world’s leading provider of autonomous delivery services, today announced that it has raised $100m in the last 30 days, including a new $42m Series B funding round led by the Japanese-Nordic VC firm NordicNinja and the Estonian visionaries Taavet+Sten. The Series B funding will help Starship further scale its service and meet increasing demand for its autonomous delivery service by launching in new cities in North America and Europe, including tens of university campuses in the U.S.

The new investment, including the recently announced €50m ($57m) investment from the European Investment Bank (EIB), doubles the company’s funding and brings Starship’s total funding to $202m. Other investors in Series B include TDK Ventures, and Goodyear.

Starship tripled deliveries in 2021 and is continuing to gain momentum as the entire autonomous delivery industry expands. The size of the autonomous delivery robot market is expected to reach $55bn by 2026 with a CAGR of 20.4%, according to Facts & Figures.

Some of Starship’s recent achievements include:

  • Completing more than three million commercial autonomous deliveries (more than any other autonomous delivery company) 
  • Operating a fleet of more than 1,700 robots daily, making it the world’s largest fleet of autonomous delivery robots 
  • Launching service at new US college campuses – North Carolina A&T, SMU and South Dakota State University – with more to be announced soon
  • Starting service in Pleasanton, California through its grocery partner The Save Mart Companies
  • Achieving delivery costs that are now lower than the human equivalent, which is believed to be a world first for any robot delivery company, whereas most others are still majority human controlled and in pilot mode
  • Extending its partnership with UK grocery partner Co-op with a commitment to launch in five new cities
  • Doubling the size of its company’s presence in Finland in 2021, with plans to double it again this year
  • Reaching nearly 4 years of L4 autonomous deliveries (Starship has been doing L4 since 2018); on a daily basis, Starship robots will complete numerous deliveries in a row 100% autonomously, including road crossings

 “Everyone is talking about how to fix the issues with last mile delivery,“ said Shinichi Nikkuni, Managing Partner of NordicNinja VC. “Time and again, Starship has proven itself to be years ahead of others with world leading autonomous driving technology for sidewalk delivery, leading to accumulating more and more data and experiences through much wider commercial operations. There aren’t many companies that have a truly autonomous service that has earned so much customer loyalty and adoration. We think Starship has found the right formula for success on a global scale and are excited to be part of their future journey.” 

“We have always been committed backers of the engineering ingenuity budding from the Estonian tech scene, and Starship takes this literally further than anyone: to the millions of miles around the planet these robots have already covered. And many hundreds of millions more, as they have passed the crucial milestone making robot delivery more cost effective than human equivalents,” added Sten Tamkivi, investing with Taavet Hinrikus through their Taavet+Sten partnership.

TDK Ventures is so proud of the rapid growth and success Starship has accomplished in a few short years,” said Nicolas Sauvage, TDK Ventures President. “Our pride runs deep, as they were the very first investment we made. We use the term ‘king of the hill’ for startups that we feel are at the top of a small emerging market, and in our estimation are poised to become world leaders in massive markets within five to 10 years. Starship was our first king of the hill. With #1 industry positions today in a variety of metrics – number of paid deliveries, of autonomous robots, of kilometres driven, data and more – Starship continues to trailblaze the way. We are excited to be part of their journey and join this new funding round.”

“The autonomous delivery market has been gaining momentum the past couple of years and we think it will really take off this year,” said Alastair Westgarth, CEO of Starship Technologies. “The demand for Starship’s services continues to rapidly increase and we are regularly contacted by more college campuses and cities that want our services, often because they hear about the great results that Starship is already delivering. I’m impressed with every member of our team who believes in what we are doing and has helped us hit yet another milestone of three million commercial deliveries. I also appreciate the investors who trust our vision and who are helping us get to the next phase of our journey.“ 

Since Starship invented the delivery robot in 2014, the industry has become more competitive which the company feels is a compliment to the hard work it has put in after the last couple of years. An entire industry has developed around automated last mile delivery (automating last mile delivery), a well-known inefficient bottleneck.

“We know this industry inside out, because we invented it,” said Ahti Heinla, co-founder and CTO of Starship Technologies. “So many unexpected things have happened to get us where we are today but I think we can all agree that on-demand services are mainstream and not going away anytime soon. While other companies in this space are busy making claims, we are gladly very busy making thousands of autonomous deliveries every day and improving the efficiency of our service.” 

The Starship Food Delivery app is available for download on iOS and Android. To get started, customers choose from a range of their favourite food or drink items, then drop a pin where they want their delivery to be sent. The user can then watch as the robot makes its journey to them, via an interactive map. Once the robot arrives, the customer receives an alert, and can then meet the robot and unlock it through the app.

Starship Technologies operates commercially on a daily basis around the world. Its zero-emission robots make more than 100,000 road crossings every day and have completed three million commercial deliveries and travelled more than 3 million miles (5 million+ kms) globally, more than any other autonomous delivery provider. 


You can read more about Starship on their website or our portfolio page here.

Starship Technologies is revolutionizing deliveries with autonomous robots. The robots are designed to deliver food, groceries and packages locally in minutes. The delivery robots have traveled millions of miles and completed three million autonomous deliveries around the world. Starship was founded by Ahti Heinla and Janus Friis (Skype Chief Architect and Co-founder) and Alastair Westgarth is the CEO. 

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