Starship Technologies: looking ahead to 2021

Ahti Heinla
Nov 2, 2020 · 4 min read

We set out to build Starship in 2014 with the mission to improve everyday life by revolutionising delivery.

Six years later, Covid-19 has radically elevated the importance of this mission, as we’ve moved from offering a convenient service to an essential one.

This year has seen demand for contactless delivery grow exponentially around the world.

In the midst of a crisis with a huge human cost, one of our priorities has been to ensure that people who can’t leave their homes get the groceries they need, when they need them. Longer-term, we believe contactless delivery will become a permanent part of everyday life for millions, as people embrace the advantages of flexible working and businesses realise the benefits of efficient last-mile delivery.

Families in the UK receiving their groceries from Starship

Delivering more things to more people

Through the hard work and dedication of the Starship team, we have made real progress in 2020, making our services available to new communities across the US and UK.

We’ve continued to expand our work with US universities, launching on seven new campuses recently: University of Mississippi, University of California, Irvine, Bowling Green University, Arizona State University, James Madison University, Oregon State University and Georgia Southern University.

Students at Georgia Southern University now have access to Starship delivery

In California, our robots have recently been delivering to the residents of Mountain View and Modesto. In the UK and US, we were able to provide free food deliveries for frontline workers, supporting the people who have been working heroically to keep us safe.

Starship has been offering free delivery to frontline workers during the pandemic

Our robots have met tens of millions people and been welcomed by communities from around the world. We have been gifted thank you letters and hand drawn robot pictures and we’ve even seen Starship Halloween costumes on US college campuses.

We hit record delivery numbers this autumn, and October saw the highest volume of autonomous deliveries in Starship’s six-year history.

Starship Halloween costumes at Purdue University and Northern Arizona University

Looking ahead

The popularity of contactless deliveries shows no sign of stopping as people and businesses continue to adapt and become more accustomed to seeing our robots in real life.

Grocery chains will increasingly rely on innovative delivery alternatives, as they seek to meet customer demand safely and efficiently. In September we announced our first partnership with a major US grocery chain, The Save Mart Companies, to provide on-demand, instant delivery of their customers’ favourite products to their door.

Residents in Modesto, CA can now get their Save Mart groceries delivery by autonomous robot

As students return to university, our robots have been busy offering contactless, fast and affordable delivery across campus. The number of autonomous deliveries has been growing, setting records week on week. We have plans to expand to many new universities in 2021.

As we move into this next chapter, Lex Bayer is stepping down after serving as CEO of Starship from June 2018 until October 2020. During his tenure, the number of deliveries completed by the Company’s autonomous robots grew from 5,000 to over 500,000, with over 1 million miles traveled. We’re proud of Starship’s growth and achievements over this period and grateful for Lex’s contributions, and we wish him well in his future endeavors.

I will act as interim CEO while we search for the best person to lead the company into the future. Since co-founding Starship with Janus Friis in 2014, I have been so proud to play a part in the realisation of our vision, including as CEO for almost four years and most recently as CTO.

In early 2021 we expect to make our one millionth autonomous delivery. We have come this far thanks to our innovative and world-leading fleet of robots but — more importantly — the fantastic team of people who’ve made our company what it is today. I can’t wait for us to share more news about our Starship journey soon.

Starship Technologies

Starship Technologies Blog — Follow our delivery robots on their adventures around the world.

Ahti Heinla

Written by

Co-founder & CTO at Starship Technologies. Formerly Founding engineer & Chief Technical Architect at Skype.

Starship Technologies

Starship Technologies Blog — Follow our delivery robots on their adventures around the world.