- TDK Ventures makes first investment from $50 million fund in autonomous delivery service startup, Starship Technologies, as a result of its innovative technology, growth trajectory and high customer satisfaction.
- Starship Technologies will leverage TDK Corporation’s deep expertise in sensors and energy solutions for robotics and IoT, and TDK’s extensive global reach, to help expand operations, meet exploding global customer demand and advance its technology to the next generation.
August 20, 2019
TDK Corporation (TSE:6762) announces that its subsidiary TDK Ventures Inc. has made its first investment in Starship Technologies, the world’s leading autonomous delivery service, to bolster the company’s momentum and innovation. As an investor in Starship’s $40 million Series A funding round, TDK Ventures furthers its own mission to propel digital and energy transformations in segments such as next-generation transportation, robotics and IoT markets, ultimately building a meaningful and sustainable future for the world.
“We are excited to become a TDK Ventures portfolio company”, said Lex Bayer, CEO at Starship Technologies. “TDK has been a world leader in advanced technology and electronics for decades and we look forward to working with their team as we focus on the next stage of commercializing our business as we expand the roll out of autonomous robot deliveries to more and more communities around the world
TDK Ventures was announced in July 2019 as a wholly-owned subsidiary of TDK Corporation with an initial fund of $50 million to invest in traditionally underfunded technology areas such as materials science and hard tech. By providing startups with access to TDK’s expertise, TDK Ventures expects to work with its portfolio companies to identify and explore new ideas and technologies that will fundamentally change how the world operates.
Starship Technologies is founded by Skype co-founders, Ahti Heinla and Janus Friis, and led by former AirBnB executive, Lex Bayer. The company has developed autonomous delivery robots that use a combination of sophisticated sensors, artificial intelligence and machine learning to deliver goods locally in minutes. Since the company’s founding, these robots have traveled over 350,000 miles to complete more than 100,000 autonomous deliveries. TDK Ventures aims to help the company expand its reach, with a strong focus on accomplishing its 100 university campus expansion plan, making it easier for students to save time by getting food delivered quicker and at low cost, allowing them to spend more time doing the things they love.
“With our first portfolio investment as a Corporate VC, we looked for a company that was thinking and acting years ahead of the competition,” said Nicolas Sauvage, Managing Director at TDK Ventures. “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. We’re confident Starship’s technical acumen, combined with the vision of Lex and his team, as well as the company’s remarkable Net Promoter Score from their repeat happy customers, will accelerate commercial autonomous delivery reach to its full potential.”
About TDK Corporation
TDK Corporation is a leading electronics company based in Tokyo, Japan. It was established in 1935 to commercialize ferrite, a key material in electronic and magnetic products. TDK's comprehensive portfolio features passive components such as ceramic, aluminum electrolytic and film capacitors, as well as magnetics, high-frequency, and piezo and protection devices. The product spectrum also includes sensors and sensor systems such as temperature and pressure, magnetic, and MEMS sensors. In addition, TDK provides power supplies and energy devices, magnetic heads and more. These products are marketed under the product brands TDK, Chirp, EPCOS, InvenSense, Micronas, Tronics and TDK-Lambda. TDK focuses on demanding markets in the areas of information and communication technology and automotive, industrial and consumer electronics. The company has a network of design and manufacturing locations and sales offices in Asia, Europe, and in North and South America. In fiscal 2019, TDK posted total sales of USD 12.5 billion and employed about 105,000 people worldwide.
About TDK Ventures
TDK Ventures Inc. invests in startups to bolster innovation in material science, energy/power and related areas typically underrepresented in venture capital portfolios. Established in 2019 as a wholly-owned subsidiary of TDK Corporation, the corporate venture company’s vision is to propel the digital and energy transformations of segments such as health and wellness, next-generation transportation, robotics and industrial, mixed reality and the wider IoT/IIoT markets. TDK Ventures will co-invest and support promising portfolio companies by providing technical expertise and access to global markets where TDK operates. Interested startups or investment partners may contact TDK Ventures: www.tdk-ventures.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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