Following its acquisition by Uber, the robotics division of Postmates has spun out as an independent company, Serve Robotics. The company, which will develop autonomous robots to deliver goods in urban environments, recently closed its first round of funding led by venture capital firm Neo.
Serve Robotics has already proven its viability by serving thousands of households in Los Angeles and has been especially useful during the pandemic by providing customers with contactless delivery.
The new investment will allow the company to expand its market reach through new partnerships as it continues to design, develop, and operate delivery robots specialized in navigating sidewalks.
“While self-driving cars remove the driver, robotic delivery eliminates the car itself and makes deliveries sustainable and accessible to all,” said Dr Ali Kashani, co-founder and CEO of Serve Robotics. “Over the next two decades, new mobility robots will enter every aspect of our lives—first moving food, then everything else.”
Nearly half of all restaurant deliveries in the US are within a 40-minute walk, which robotic delivery could make faster, safer, and at a lower cost to consumers and restaurants.
“We’re excited for the potential of Serve robots to help our restaurant partners grow their business and find new convenient, safe, and reliable ways to reach customers,” said Stephane Ficaja, General Manager of US & Canada, Uber Eats.
“Just as the automobile transformed our cities a century ago, another major transformation is beginning,” said Ali Partovi, CEO of Neo. “We’re thrilled to partner with the Serve team and we believe they’ll attract some of the brightest minds in autonomy and robotics.”
Other major investors include Uber, Lee Jacobs and Cyan Banister’s Long Journey Ventures, Western Technology Investment, Scott Banister, Farhad Mohit, and Postmates co-founders Bastian Lehmann and Sean Plaice.