Locus Robotics has raised $25 million in its latest funding round.
Locus makes autonomous, mobile robots for use in e-commerce fulfillment warehouses, today announced it has secured $25 million in Series B funding led by Scale Venture Partners, a Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm investing in the future of work.
Existing investors also participated in the round.
Rick Faulk, CEO of Locus Robotics, says: “E-commerce fulfillment warehouses are under tremendous pressure to meet increasing demands for fast, accurate order fulfillment in the face of significant labor challenges.
“Locus Robotics’s collaborative robots allow warehouse operators to significantly increase worker productivity while economically closing the growing labor gap. In an economy largely dominated by Amazon, Locus arms independent operators with the means to compete effectively.”
Locus Robotics has quickly become the leading warehouse robotics solution provider for retailers and third-party logistics operators looking to meet the shifting demands of the booming e-commerce market, expected to grow by 20 per cent to become a $4 trillion global market by 2020, according to Nielson.
Rory O’Driscoll, general partner at ScaleVP, says: “We look for huge markets, burning needs, and compelling and innovative technologies that address those needs.
“We try to invest just when that innovative technology is ready to jump from an interesting idea that might happen, to a core business imperative that is happening right now. For collaborative robotics the time is right now.
“Robots can work safely with humans, each doing what they do best, to double human productivity and lighten the physical workload in industries like logistics.
“We anticipate an explosion of this trend in the next few years, and Locus will be at the heart of that trend.”
Locus’s turnkey robotics solution enables warehouse operators to achieve more efficient e-commerce fulfillment operations, while simultaneously managing both labor costs and seasonally fluctuating order volume.
Customers are already seeing doubling or tripling of fulfillment speed with near-100 per cent accuracy, while saving 30 per cent or more in operating expenses.
The company’s innovative robots-as-a-service subscription business model allows customers to solve this challenge without a large-scale capital investment.
Adrian Kumar, vice president, solutions design North America at DHL Supply Chain, a Locus customer, says: “DHL Supply Chain takes digitization seriously and we have made some significant strides partnering with Locus Robotics.
“Integrating LocusBots into one of our sites has increased productivity two-fold and the associate feedback is positive. Locus has been agile with their ability to adapt and change as we learn from these innovations.
“When we can provide our customers with more efficient and effective operations, we all win. We are eager to further develop our relationship as our commitment to continuous improvement is solid.”
John Santagate, research director for service robotics at IDC, says: “We have seen rapid growth in robotics technology worldwide.
“Robots in fulfillment is one particular area where robotic technology maturity and market readiness have come together in a perfect storm.
“The acquisition of Kiva by Amazon and the subsequent privatization of the technology left a gap in the market which several robotics vendors have been working to capture.
“However, companies like Locus have taken the lessons learned from Kiva and built out a different kind of model, collaborative and safe mobile robots.
“Locus has done a good job of developing an innovative approach to e-commerce fulfillment, enabled by robots, and this round of funding will help them in their efforts to emerge as a leader in the space.”
The company will use the Series B proceeds to extend its leadership position by making increased investments in product development and go-to-market activities, as well as to expand into international markets.
In addition, the company will invest in its growing, subscription-based robot fleet.
Faulk adds: “We’re thrilled to be working with ScaleVP. Their leadership in technology investment with emphasis on quantitative results aligns closely with our corporate vision for customer success.
“This milestone reinforces the original vision of our founders, Bruce Welty and Mike Johnson, to bring a collaborative robotics solution to the e-commerce warehouse.”
Choate Hall & Stewart LLP served as legal counsel to Locus Robotics in this transaction.