Monday May 23, 2022

Starship robots get €50m drive from EU investment bank

A Starship robot crosses the road in Northampton, UK
A Starship robot crosses the road in Northampton, UK

Delivery robot pioneer Starship Technologies has gained a €50 million boost from an official EU bank to help build thousands of delivery robots in Estonia.

The company, based in the UK and Estonia, has agreed the €50m quasi-equity facility agreement with the European Investment Bank (EIB), which is the lending arm of the European Union (EU), supporting projects that promote the priorities and objectives of the EU.

This financing, which is supported by the European Fund for Strategic Investments, has been facilitated via a venture loan. It will be used for research and development, including the building of thousands more robots at Starship’s engineering and innovation facility in Tallinn. 

Investing in growth

Alastair Westgarth, CEO, Starship Technologies, said: “We’re proud of our European roots as well as the growing team there that remains a vital part of our operations. As the market leader in autonomous delivery, we are constantly looking to innovate and find new ways to improve our service.

“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.”

Scaling up production

“Electric vehicles in all shapes and sizes will be part of our future, and can be a key part in the sustainable transport puzzle,” said EIB Vice-President Thomas Östros. “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.”

EU Commissioner for the Economy, Paolo Gentiloni, commented: “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 ever-growing and vibrant research, technology and innovation ecosystem.”  

Cheaper than human deliveries

Starship already offers its services in many parts of the EU, UK and the US in cities, university campuses and industrial campuses, with further expansion planned in the near future. The company’s robots have been providing Level 4 100% autonomous deliveries since 2018.

“This is why the cost of a Starship delivery is 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,” the company emphasised.

2.5m deliveries

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 more than 2.5 million commercial deliveries and travelled 5 million kms (3 million+ miles) globally, more than any other autonomous delivery provider. 

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.

SourceStarship Technologies

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