I’m proud to announce we have reached one million autonomous deliveries, more than 6 years after founding the company in 2014. We believe no other company in the world has completed this many autonomous deliveries — including self-driving taxi rides. We’ve also raised an additional $17m and added service to two new campuses — UCLA and Bridgewater State University (Massachusetts) in the US. This new investment brings Starship’s total funding to $102m to date.
We were unsure where the 1 millionth delivery was going to take place, as there are around 15–20 service areas open globally all with robots doing deliveries every minute. In the end it took place at Bowling Green, Ohio, to a student called Annika Keeton who is a freshman studying pre-health Biology at BGSU. Annika is now part of Starship’s history!
Six years ago we wouldn’t have believed we’d be hitting the 1m delivery in January 2021 — we’d have liked to hit it sooner! But it turns out getting delivery robots to operate at a high degree of autonomy in multiple countries, 24/7, doing thousands of deliveries per day and millions of miles per year is hard. Thankfully, we have an incredibly talented team at Starship which I thank for making this milestone achievable. It may have taken 6 years for us to hit the first million deliveries, but we expect the next million to take only a matter of months!
We also launched UCLA, considered one of the top public schools in the US, and we’re delivering from restaurants including Blaze Pizza, Bruin Buzz, Lu Valle, and Southern Lights. Bridgewater State University (Massachusetts) is also now providing delivery from campus restaurants including Starbucks Cafe and Bears Den.
The additional funding comes at a time of increasing interest in the autonomous delivery industry. Contactless delivery has proved to be one of the most reliable ways to protect vulnerable populations and enable social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic. We’re proud to be providing contactless food and grocery deliveries at such a challenging time for so many people. Demand has increased 5x in neighborhoods since the beginning of the pandemic.
We’ve continued to see exponential growth since starting our first commercial delivery service in 2018. In the past year, Starship set several new delivery records within the company and expanded to more college campuses including Arizona State University (ASU), University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) and UC Irvine. In addition to opening service in Mountain View, CA, we also began deliveries in Modesto, CA with our new partner, The Save Mart Companies.
If you’re interested in solving difficult challenges and want to have a positive impact on local communities, as well as the environment, we’d love to hear from you as we’re hiring for multiple roles right now. We’re planning to grow the Starship team by around 40–50% this year alone. Bring on 2021!