The logistics sector is proving to be one of the fastest-growing markets for robotics and automation technology providers.
According to Research and Markets, the global logistics robots market is expected to grow at more than 30 per cent a year up to 2020.
And while there are plenty of established companies providing logistics robots, this is probably a good time to start a new one.
inVia is one of the startups which is hoping to capture some of this growing market, and is offering something it says is unique in its solution.
In this exclusive interview, Lior Elazary, CEO of inVia Robotics, provides an insight into the company’s new product and approach.
5. Please provide a little background: who founded it? who are the key personnel? who are the investors? and so on…
Elazary is one of the three founders of inVia Robotics. The others are Dan Parks, COO, and Randolph Voorhies, CTO.
The trio collaborated on a number of Darpa robotics projects while involved in the PhD program at the University of Southern California. After looking into a number of industries that would benefit from a robotic solution, they decided on e-commerce fulfillment.
They decided that a robotic system could handle the mundane, repetitive picking tasks that had become a pain point for e-commerce executives trying to keep up with surging consumer demand for shorter shipping times.
inVia has attracted a significant amount of seed funding while Elazary and his colleagues worked to build out the technology and prove its capabilities. The team is anticipating a Series A round in the near future.
Robotics and Automation News: What do you think the next year or two holds for your company, given that some people are saying logistics robotics is a fast-growing market?
Lior Elazary: As the e-commerce market continues to grow, warehouses will need automation solutions to keep up with demand.
Currently, we are the only company offering a complete robotic solution that can pick items and deliver them to packing stations (goods-to-box), which is going to can help our customers grow and scale in a very cost effective manner.
Over the next few years, we are going to concentrate on growing our business and providing our solution to as many companies that need our help.
Got any deals lined up?
We have a few deals in the works, but the only one that we can currently discuss is with LD Products. Following a successful pilot program, LD Products is planning on expanding its operations and hopes to open another warehouse with our robotic solution handling the fulfillment operations in the near future.
Which companies and markets are you targeting?
We are currently targeting companies that fulfill 5,000 units per day or more. However, we are also working on a solution that would help smaller businesses that are fulfilling fewer units per day with a “warehouse in a box” type of solution with fewer robots.
What makes your product innovative or unique?
We believe our solution competes with the older fixed automation systems that provide similar throughput, but with very high setup and maintenance costs.
This method traditionally generates a very high cost per pick, whereas our system keeps the cost per pick low and can easily integrate into existing workflows.
Unlike fixed automation systems, our solution is able to adapt to peak times, like the holiday season, and keep costs and throughput consistent.
What is your strategy going forward?
We feel our robotics-as-a-service model will help our customers immediately improve productivity without having put up a lot of capital upfront.
It also allows them to add robots as they grow, rather than forcing them to predict their automation needs three to five years in the future and purchase more or less than they will eventually need.