Postmates X, the robotics division of the on-demand delivery startup Uber acquired last year for $ 2.65 billion, has officially become an independent company called Serve Robotics.
TechCrunch reported in January that a deal was being bought with investors.
Serve Robotics, a name taken from the autonomous sidewalk delivery robot that was developed and piloted by Postmates X, has raised seed funding in a round led by venture capital firm Neo. Other investors included Uber as well as 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.
Serve Robotics has not shared funding details except to confirm that the round, which will be a Series A, is not yet over. Funding for a spin-out can take place in several phases, with the first tranche being used for the initial launch and the rest of the cycle ending once the IP is transferred.
The new company will be led by Ali Kashani, who ran Postmates X. Other co-founders include Dmitry Demeshchuk, the first engineer who joined the Serve team at Postmates and MJ Chun, who previously led product at Anki, was at the head of the product. strategy at Serve. The company launched with 60 employees with its headquarters in San Francisco and offices in Los Angeles and Vancouver, Canada.
“While self-driving cars do away with the driver, robotic delivery eliminates the car itself and makes deliveries sustainable and accessible to everyone,” said Kashani, co-founder and CEO of Serve Robotics. “Over the next two decades, new mobility robots will enter all aspects of our lives – first the movement of food, then everything in between.”
The exploration of postmates in curbside delivery robots began in earnest in 2017 after the company quietly acquired Kashani’s start-up, Lox Inc. As the head of Postmates X, Kashani set out to answer the question. : Why move two-pound burritos with two-ton cars? Postmates revealed their first autonomous Serve delivery robot in December 2018. A second generation – with an identical design but different lidar sensors and a few other upgrades – emerged in the summer of 2019 ahead of its planned commercial launch in Los Angeles.
The company’s mission to The design, development and operation of delivery robots specializing in sidewalk navigation will continue, but with a prospect of expansion. To serve will continue its delivery operations in Los Angeles. It plans to intensify research and development in the San Francisco Bay Area and expand its reach into the market through new partnerships.
The spin-out is in line with Uber’s goal of restricting the focus of its business on ridesharing and delivery for the sake of profitability. This strategy began to take shape after Uber debuted on the public market in May 2019 and gained momentum last year when the COVID-19 pandemic put pressure on the ridesharing company. Two years ago, Uber had businesses in the transportation landscape, from racing to the car and micromobility to logistics, transit, food delivery, and futuristic betting like autonomous vehicles and cars. air taxis. CEO Dara Khosrowshahi has dismantled the everything but the kitchen sink approach as he pushes the company towards profitability.
In 2020, Uber unloaded the shared scooter and bike unit Jump as part of a complex deal with Lime, sold a $ 500 million stake in its Uber Freight logistics spinoff, and got rid of its unit. Uber ATG autonomous vehicle and its Uber Elevate air taxi. Aurora acquired Uber ATG under a deal that had a structure similar to the Jump-Lime transaction. Aurora did not pay cash for Uber ATG. Instead, Uber put its equity back into ATG and invested $ 400 million in Aurora, which gave it a 26% stake in the combined company. As part of a similar deal, Uber Elevate was sold to Joby Aviation in December.