Fresh off a $40 million raise, Locus Robotics is expanding its technologies into the Australia and New Zealand markets for the first time through a partnership with robotics and voice technology integrator Cohesio Group
A provider of autonomous mobile robots (AMR) designed for fulfillment warehouses, Locus last week announced more than $40 million in Series D funding led by Zebra Ventures, the strategic investment arm of Zebra Technologies.
The Series D round brings Locus Robotics’ total funding to more than $105 million. In the funding announcement, the Wilmington, Mass.-based company first said proceeds from the funding would be used to accelerate its expansion into new global markets through several strategic reseller partnerships worldwide. The company also will launch a headquarters in the European Union as part of its worldwide expansion initiatives.
Locus says its collaborative robots, called “LocusBots,” can drive between 200 percent and 300 percent productivity increases as retailers and third-party logistics providers aim to meet higher volumes. Plus, increasing consumer demand for e-commerce and omnichannel order fulfillment have become all the more ubiquitous during the COVID-19 pandemic as apparel retailers worldwide were forced to close their stores.
But even prior to the pandemic, robotics were a rising technology within warehousing and logistics as companies sought to increase human productivity throughout the fulfillment process.
Worldwide shipments of warehousing and logistics robots will grow to 938,000 units annually by 2022 from 194,000 units last year, according to Tractica, a market intelligence firm that focuses on emerging technologies. It estimates that worldwide revenue for the category will increase to $30.8 billion in 2022 from $8.3 billion in 2018, providing significant opportunities for established participants and emerging players.
As such, additional funding proceeds will support the growth of Locus’ R&D capacity to drive faster development of new warehouse robotics innovations.
The Locus partnership makes Cohesio a licensed reseller of Locus’s AMR solution, enabling Cohesio to manage installation, training and support for shared customers in the Asia-Pacific Region (APAC). Cohesio belongs to the Business Unit Software team as part of the Business Area Logistics Systems, a part of the international technology group, Körber AG.
“Locus Robotics is a known leader in AMR solutions, and will be of great benefit to players in the APAC market,” said Nishan Wijemanne, CEO at Cohesio Group. “This new partnership will allow us to continue delivering cutting-edge solutions to our customers that improve efficiency and productivity. Alongside our enterprise-grade solutions of voice picking technology, Android Voice and AMR solutions, this new product offering will allow us to work with our customer to create even greater efficiencies as demand and pressure on logistics and retail continues.”
For Locus Robotics, the Australia expansion comes three months after the company expanded its partnership with DHL Supply Chain to include 10 U.S. deployments of the Locus AMRs in 2020. Although the partnership occurred right as U.S. retailers began closing physical locations due to the coronavirus, Rick Faulk, CEO of Locus Robotics, then noted the companies had already identified the deployment sites and expected deployment in 2020 to support volume for the peak holidayseason. In total, DHL committed to deploying a total of 1,000 LocusBots across these locations.