Starship Technologies is fresh off a recent $40 million funding round, and the robotics startup finds itself in a much-changed market compared to when it got its start in 2014. Founded by software industry veterans, including Skype and Rdio co-founder Janus Friis, Starship’s focus is entirely on building and commercializing fleets of autonomous sidewalk delivery robots.
Starship invented this category when it debuted, but five years later it’s one of a number of companies looking to deploy what essentially amounts to wheeled, self-driven coolers that can carry small packages and everyday freight, including fresh food, to waiting customers. CEO Lex Bayer, a former sales leader from Airbnb, took over the top spot at Starship last year and is eager to focus the company’s efforts in a drive to take full advantage of its technology and experience lead.
The result is transforming what looked, to all external observers, like a long-tail technology play into a thriving commercial enterprise.
“We want to do 100 universities in the next 24 months, and we’ll do about 25 to 50 robots on each campus,” Bayer said in an interview about his company’s plans for the future.