TDK Ventures made its first investment by backing a series A round for robot-equipped consumer goods delivery service Starship Technologies.
US-based robotic goods delivery fleet operator Starship Technologies completed a $40m series A round yesterday that included TDK Ventures, the corporate venturing fund owned by electronics manufacturer TDK Corporation.
The round was led by venture capital fund Morpheus Ventures and included Qu Ventures, the VC and entrepreneurship arm of Kyushu University, in addition to Shasta Ventures, Matrix Partners, Metaplanet Holdings and undisclosed existing and new investors.
Founded in 2014, Starship operates a mobile app that lets university students order consumer goods such as food which is then delivered using one of the company’s smart robots. The robots can generally cover a radius of up to three miles and deliver goods within 15 to 30 minutes.
Starship’s robots have so far completed more than 100,000 orders, and the funding will support its launch on 100 university campuses within the next two years, beginning with University of Pittsburgh and Purdue University.
TDK Ventures was launched last month with $50m to fund companies in sectors including robotics, industrial manufacturing and health and wellness. The Starship deal marks its first investment.
Nicolas Sauvage, managing director at TDK Ventures, said: “With our first portfolio investment as a corporate VC, we looked for a company that was thinking and acting years ahead of the competition.
“Starship immediately stood out with its sophisticated approach to a vertically-integrated autonomous delivery solution and advanced robotics technology – whose market reach and insights far exceed anything else we see on the market, even from some of the world’s largest companies.”
The company had already raised $42.2m in seed funding, including an initial $17.2m close in January 2017 that was led by carmaker Daimler following an existing research and development agreement with Starship.
Shasta Ventures, Matrix Partners and Morpheus Ventures, ZX Ventures, Grishin Robotics and Playfair Capital were also among the participants in the first seed tranche.
Starship added $25m from Matrix Partners, Morpheus Ventures, Nathan Blecharczyk, Jaan Tallinn and Gary Barber in June 2018. MetaPlanet Holdings was also identified as an existing investor in the latest round.
Image courtesy of Starship Technologies.