In a sign that the logistics sector is a red-hot target for investment, Locus Robotics raised $26 million in a Series C round led by Zebra Ventures to increase production of the robots central to its multi-bot warehouse fulfillment automation technology.
To date Locus has raised $66 million and in 2018 deployed its warehouse robots to a variety of North American clients, including retail/e-tail, third-party logistics (3PL), distribution, and industrial specialty customers.
Locus Robotics CEO Rick Faulk credits a confluence of factors for driving ongoing interest in warehouse automation. “The continued, rapid growth of the warehouse industry and a tight labor market have placed tremendous pressure on warehouse operators to find a scalable, cost-effective way to meet increasing productivity and efficiency demands,” Faulk said in a statement about the funding news.
“We have seen a massive uptick in demand for the flexible automation incorporated into Locus’s multi-bot solution, which is uniquely suited to address these challenges,” Faulk explained, adding that new investment will help the company satisfy demand for its warehouse robots. “Not only is our solution proven to dramatically improve productivity and drive down costs, but it is also a source of scalable labor that can be adapted to meet the demands of numerous product and customer profiles.”
Describing Locus Robotics’ solution as “unique in the market,” IDC research director John Santagate said the company’s offerings “allows human workers in the fulfillment process to execute…many orders as they can interact with multiple robots that are working independently of one another at any given time.”
Beyond the investment from Zebra Ventures, Zebra Technologies is partnering with Locus Robotics to increase the capabilities of the autonomous robots. For example, Locus recently installed a power port onto the bots that integrates with Zebra wireless printers. Zebra also showed how its wireless scanners fit into Locus Robotics’ “new putaway functionality,” which see bots moving goods back to storage versus taking them from storage to a human employee.