AKRON — Goodyear, through its Goodyear Ventures venture-capital arm, wants to help drive the success of Starship Technologies, an autonomous delivery company.
Goodyear recently added Starship Technologies to its investment technology portfolio, joining multiple investors in raising $17 million for the Sherman Oaks, Calif.-based company. Goodyear did not disclose its individual contribution.
Founded in 2014, Starship Technologies builds and operates a network of self-driving robots that carry and deliver packages, groceries and food directly to customers. The company was founded by Skype Ahti Heinla and Janus Friis, co-founders of the Skype video-chat platform.
The company's electrically powered, autonomous robots complete thousands of deliveries daily across the world, offering contactless delivery.
The six-wheeled bots can carry items such as parcels, groceries and food within a four-mile radius of the originating store or delivery point. They use a mixture of computer vision and GPS to navigate their route, traveling at no more than 4 mph predominantly on sidewalks.
The robots' entire journey and location can be monitored on a smartphone, Starship said.
This is Starship Technologies' fourth tranche of capital infusion since 2014, totaling $102 million. The firm is active in Denmark, Estonia, Germany, the United Kingdom and the U.S.
Abhijit Ganguly, senior manager of Goodyear Ventures, said Goodyear's "trusted" services footprint and custom solutions for autonomous vehicle companies comprise a "solid platform" to support Starship in the market.
Goodyear Ventures focuses on mobility companies, including electric and autonomous technologies. The venture capital fund partners and invests in seed-to-growth-stage startups "that have a shared vision of sustainable, safe and new mobility experiences that make life's connections easier every day," Goodyear Ventures said.