Robotic delivery service Starship Technologies announced it has closed $40 million in Series A funding. The company also announced that it plans to expand service to 100 university campuses over the next two years.
Starship makes small autonomous robots that pick up and deliver food on-demand on college campuses. The company currently operates in the U.S., the U.K., Germany and Estonia.
With the closing of this funding round, Starship has now raised a total of $85 million.
In tandem with the funding raise, announced on August 20, Starship said it was deploying its robots at the University of Pittsburgh and that it plans to roll out another fleet at Purdue University in Indiana on September 9.
The all-electric robots, which travel at around four miles per hour, will deliver from a variety of national and local brands including Einstein Bros. Bagels, Common Grounds, and Roc ‘N Roll’d Sushi.
“This new investment will see Starship expand onto more campuses as we head towards a goal of offering our services to over one million students,” said Lex Bayer, CEO of Starship Technologies, in a statement.
Starship is not the only company ramping up robotic food delivery. Domino’s is teaming up with AV outfit Nuro for driverless pizza delivery. Postmates rolled out the Serve, a yellow, black and white robot with large black eyes, in December 2018.
Starship pioneered the concept of sidewalk delivery robots, introducing the autonomous vehicle to university campuses this year in partnership with foodservice management company Sodexo, Inc. The flagship campuses were George Mason University and Northern Arizona University
Since the initial launches, both campuses have increased the number of robots, dining options and hours of operation to meet the high demand for the service.
“An entire generation of university students is growing up in a world where they expect to receive a delivery from a robot after a few taps on their smartphone,” said Bayer. “The reception to our service both on campuses and in neighborhoods has been phenomenal. Our customers appreciate how we make their lives easier and give them back the gift of time.”
To date, the robots have traveled 350,000 miles via delivery trips, transporting 9,000 sushi rolls and 15,000 bananas, among various other grocery and food items.
Morpheus Ventures led the funding round, with participation from prior investors including Shasta Ventures, Matrix Partners, MetaPlanet Holdings and others, as well as new investors including TDK Ventures, Qu Ventures and others.