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Fabric Raises $110 Million to Bring Micro-Fulfillment Centers to US Retail

Logistic platform Fabric, formerly CommonSense Robotics, has closed a $110 million Series B funding round to accelerate growth in the U.S., where it’s building an infrastructure of micro-fulfillment centers.

Fabric said these centers are meant to help transform last-mile logistics to enable on-demand fulfillment to become profitable and scalable for a range of businesses, from grocery to apparel.

The company said it plans to rapidly expand across the country next year in partnership with leading brands. The funding, led by Corner Ventures, with participation from Alelph, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, Innovation Endeavors, La Maison, Playground Ventures and Temasek, will also be used to grow Fabric’s U.S.-based commercial, operations and technical support teams, as well as its engineering teams in Tel Aviv.

Founded in 2015 in Tel Aviv and headquartered in New York, Fabric has developed a micro-fulfillment logistics solution to assist retailers to thrive in the rapidly evolving era of on-demand fulfillment.

“Driven by our world-class proprietary technology, we are designing and building an entirely new logistics infrastructure in cities so that on-demand fulfillment and delivery can happen faster, cheaper and at scale,” Elram Goren, Fabric CEO and co-founder, said. “Whether it’s enabling retailers to profitably fulfill one-hour deliveries or helping businesses restock their storefronts more efficiently, we aim to be the solution that empowers businesses to better serve their customers.”

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Fabric’s production-proven micro-fulfillment platform places automation in close proximity to end consumers, enabling a combination of speedy delivery, cost reduction and scale of operations. In October 2018, Fabric launched what it said was the world’s smallest automated fulfillment center, which now processes up to 600 orders a day out of just 6,000 square feet, with one-hour delivery capabilities.

The company recently announced the buildout of an automated grocery site with three temperature zones, the first of a 12-site deal in partnership with one of Israel’s largest grocery chains.

“The demand from the market for a location-first approach to automation is just staggering. Now, with this latest round of funding, Fabric is poised to enter a new stage of hypergrowth,” Fabric chief commercial officer Steve Hornyak said. “We currently have 14 sites under contract and are rapidly expanding our U.S. presence, with plans to launch micro-fulfillment centers in several cities across the U.S. in 2020. The first site in the NYC area is already under construction and will be online in Q1 2020.”

Fabric’s network model offers fulfillment as a service, enabling retailers to leverage a network of sites owned and operated by Fabric with no capital expenditure and an immediate return on investment. Now, alongside the funding announcement, Fabric is launching a platform model that will enable retailers to build and operate a private network of sites on their own real estate.

With the rollout of this new deployment option, Fabric empowers retailers with flexibility to build a custom solution that suits each retailer’s inventory level, desired reach, and operating and capital expenditure requirements.

“Fabric is the micro-fulfillment market leader with a production-proven platform that drives tremendous value for its retail partners and consumers alike,” John Cadeddu, managing partner at Corner Ventures, said. “We are delighted to be partnering with the Fabric team in their incredible vision to reinvent how goods are fulfilled and delivered in this on-demand world, ultimately empowering retailers to provide faster deliveries at lower costs and at scale.”

Fabric has raised $136 million to date. Its $20 million Series A in February 2018 was led by Playground with participation from seed round investors Aleph and Innovation Endeavors.

Fabric pivoted from the name CommonSense Robotics to speak to its ambition to serve as the “fabric of e-commerce fulfillment,” Anne Marie Stephen, sales director, U.S. retail and commerce for Fabric, said.