Prior to joining Starship, Westgarth was CEO at Alphabet’s Loon, which was focused on using high-altitude balloons to deliver internet access to underserved communities around the world. That endeavor was shut down in January of this year. Before joining Loon in 2017, Westgarth was CEO at Quintel Solutions and a Vice President at Nortel.
Starship makes small, cooler-sized autonomous delivery robots. The company really started gaining traction in the U.S. over the past couple of years by providing food deliveries on college campuses. Starship has since broadened it services to include grocery delivery from Save Mart in Modesto, California. In May of this year, Starship started making deliveries from select Costa Coffee locations in the town of Milton Keynes in the U.K.
The appointment of a new CEO comes during a time of growth for Starship. In January, the company raised an additional $17 million in funding (bringing its total fundraising to $102 million). The company’s delivery robots are now available to more than 1 million people on a daily basis, and last month it announced that it had quadrupled deliveries globally since the start of the pandemic. To date, Starship has completed more than 1.5 million commercial deliveries around the world.
The pandemic has accelerated interest in robot delivery, thanks to its contactless nature. Since Starship launched, a number of robot delivery startups have launched around the world including Kiwibot and Postmates here in the U.S., Yandex in Russia, Woowa Brothers in South Korea, and Bizero in Turkey. The question for all of these startups now is whether the building, maintaining and deploying all of these robots can scale in an economical way.
According to the press announcement sent out today, Starship’s co-founder, Ahti Heinla, will now be taking on the role of CTO. The company did not specify what new role, if any fellow co-founder Janus Friis would be taking.