- Robot delivery company Starship Technologies has hired Airbnb veteran Lex Bayer as its new CEO.
- The London-based startup has also raised $US25 million from existing investors, as well as Airbnb cofounder Nathan Blecharczyk and Skype founding engineer Jaan Tallinn.
- CTO Ahti Heinla said the money will be used to significantly grow its fleet of robots, which are currently making in deliveries in cities including London.
Robot delivery company Starship Technologies has hired an Airbnb veteran as its new CEO and raised $US25 million (£18.6 million) in seed funding.
The London-based startup was set up in 2014 by Skype cofounders Ahti Heinla and Janus Friis. Heinla had been Starship’s CEO, but is switching roles to CTO as the firm welcomes Lex Bayer as its new boss.
Bayer has worked at Airbnb since 2013, most recently as the company’s group head of business development, payments, and Airbnb for business. He will run Starship from San Francisco, where he is currently based.
Starship manufactures six-wheeled delivery robots which have been deployed in eight locations in the US and Europe, including Mountain View, Washington DC, Hamburg, and London.
The $US25 million raise will be used to scale up its fleet of robots. It currently has hundreds of robots and will have more than 1,000 within a year.
“We aim to get to thousands of robots doing deliveries and millions of people experiencing that kind of service soon,” Heinla told Business Insider.
Starship said its machines have covered over 100,000 miles around the world in 20 countries and over 100 cities, “encountering” more than 15 million people. Takeaway food delivery service Just Eat has been trialling the robots in London.
Heinla said he was “very excited” to have Bayer on board. “This is super useful as Starship begins scaling. I have a technical background, and I’ve always seen my job at Starship mostly as building out the technology, which is now essentially ready,” he continued.
In a press release, Bayer added: “This additional funding will allow us to deploy our robots in neighbourhoods as well as corporate and university campuses in the US and Europe.”
Existing investors Matrix Partners and Morpheus Ventures contributed to the $US25 million raise, which also included funding from Airbnb cofounder Nathan Blecharczyk and Skype founding engineer Jaan Tallinn. German automotive giant Daimler has previously invested in the firm.
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