ForwardX Robotics, a Beijing-based developer of autonomous mobile robots for warehousing and manufacturing environments, has completed its initial Series C1 funding round, raising $31 million.
The initial round was led by Taikang Life Insurance, with Qualcomm Ventures and Starlight Capital also contributing to the round.
Only seven months after the close of its $63 million Series B round, the latest round of funding brings ForwardX to approximately $100 million in total investment since its founding in 2016.
Nicolas Chee, founder and CEO, says: “Our latest round of funding contributes to the positive momentum we have been building over the past 24 months. With a growing market share across our key territories, we look forward to continuing to deliver transformational results to our current and future customers.
“While previously we’ve been focused on the domestic Chinese market, 2021 has brought us more success outside of China. We’re really looking forward to making our solutions available to a wider audience and cementing our position as a dominant player in North and South America, Asia, and Europe.”
ForwardX plans to use the new capital to accelerate its research and development timeline, increase its deployment capabilities in key markets, such as the US, and expand its sales reach into new markets.
An example of this ambition is an upcoming office opening on the East Coast of the US to expand its ability to serve the North American market.
Furthermore, since the company’s last funding round, ForwardX has stayed true to its word, opening a new office in Tokyo, Japan and adding partners across Asia-Pacific, Europe, and South America.
Yaxin Guan, ForwardX’s COO, says: “It’s an exciting time for us and the industry as a whole. Covid-19 made it difficult to expand overseas during 2020, but this year has brought us a lot more success in that regard.
“E-commerce in the US has seen its 18-month spike become the new base level resulting in accelerated demand for automation, and, with this round of funding, we’re in a better position to deliver quality solutions to North American customers.”
ForwardX has seen success after success deploying fleets of its AMRs for a variety of warehousing and manufacturing leaders including JD Logistics, SF DHL Supply Chain China, TCL Electronics, ITOCHU Logistics China, and Dongfeng Motor Corporation to name a few.
The company also holds its name in the history books as a core provider for the world’s first 5G-enabled AMR deployment after its award-winning project with TCL Electronics.
Additionally, Qualcomm Ventures’ participation in the latest round offers opportunities for ForwardX to work with a 5G technology leader to further advance the use of 5G in its smart warehousing and manufacturing projects.
James Shen, vice president, Qualcomm, and managing director of Qualcomm Ventures China, says: “The e-commerce revolution is driving the need for more intelligent warehouse automation tools.
“ForwardX’s vision-first Autonomous Mobile Robot solution helps increase operational productivity and reliability. We’re excited to support ForwardX in leveraging AI to optimize warehousing and manufacturing environments and enable 5G private network applications.”
This round of funding for ForwardX is one of many positive indicators for the industry. As leading companies continue to adopt the new technology with positive results, they are laying a foundation for others to follow. Each year sees more and more making the transition in what has already become a snowball effect over recent years.