Uber is spinning off Postmates' autonomous delivery division into a separate startup called Serve Robotics. The company inherited the unit when it acquired Postmates last year for $2.65 billion. According to Bloomberg, Uber will invest approximately $50 million in a Series A financing round that will make the company a minority stakeholder in Serve Robotics.
The startup will operate independently of its former parent. However, it will maintain a close relationship with the company through a partnership that will see its sidewalk robots deliver groceries and other essentials to Uber customers. In the immediate future, Serve told TechCrunch its plans to invest aggressively in R&D while working to establish new partnerships. "Over the next five years delivery robots will become the first commercial application of self-driving at scale," Ali Kashani, the CEO of Serve Robotics, told Bloomberg.
The move comes as Uber attempts to become profitable by the end of the year. In chasing that goal, CEO Dara Khosrowshahi has dismantled the company's once far-reaching empire. At the end of last year, Uber sold off both its self-driving unit and air taxi business. More recently, the company laid off 185 people at Postmates, or about 15 percent of the company's workforce.