Former Alphabet’s Loon chief joins Starship Technologies as new CEO – TechCrunch

Autonomous robotics company Starship Technologies has a new CEO. The company said Tuesday that Alastair Westgarth, the former CEO of Alphabet’s Loon, will lead the company as it looks to expand its robotics delivery service.

Westgarth previously ran Loon, Alphabet’s experiment to deliver broadband via high-altitude balloons, from 2017. The project came to a standstill early this year. The company said in a farewell blog post that “the road to commercial viability has turned out to be much longer and riskier than expected.” Prior to working at Loon, Westgarth ran wireless antenna company Quintel Solutions, was vice president of telecommunications company Nortel and director of engineering at Bell Mobility.

He will join Starship Technologies at a time of rapid expansion. At the start of 2020, Starship only had a few hundred autonomous robots operating in a few neighborhoods and college campuses. Last month, the company said the number of deliveries since the start of the pandemic had quadrupled, reaching the milestone of 1.5 million commercial deliveries worldwide.

“Autonomous delivery is changing logistics as we know it, affecting billions of people around the world,” Westgarth said in a statement Tuesday. “The Starship team has been developing and perfecting the technology and its operations for years, since the creation of the robot delivery category in 2014. […] I am excited about this opportunity and look forward to helping the business grow both on campus and in neighborhoods, giving millions more people access to this market-leading delivery service, practical, safe and environmentally friendly.

Former Starship CEO Lex Bayer quietly left in December 2020, after nearly three years at the helm. Its co-founder Ahti Heinla, who served as interim CEO, will now become Starship’s CTO.

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