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Retail Tech: Stripe Raises $6.5 Billion, Ikea Deploys 100 Drones

The weekly Retail Tech Roundup compiles technology news across the supply chain, manufacturing, retail, e-commerce, logistics and fulfillment sectors.



Payment processing platform Stripe is raising another $6.5 billion in a funding round that would value the company at $50 billion—nearly half of its $95 billion valuation in March 2021.

Primary investors in the Series I fundraise include existing Stripe shareholders—Andreessen Horowitz, Baillie Gifford, Founders Fund, General Catalyst, MSD Partners and Thrive Capital—as well as new investors including GIC, Goldman Sachs Asset and Wealth Management and Temasek.

The new funds will provide liquidity to current and former employees and address employee withholding tax obligations related to equity awards.

In a statement, Stripe addresses any doubts of the company’s financial health, saying it “does not need this capital to run its business.”

In July 2022, Stripe cut its internal valuation by 28 percent from $95 billion to $74 billion. Then in January 2023, The Information reported that Stripe again lowered its valuation to $63 billion, reflecting the dramatic pullback in tech stocks last year.

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Like many of its tech contemporaries, Stripe laid off 14 percent of its workforce in November as leadership acknowledged misjudging how much e-commerce would continue to grow after the pandemic-driven acceleration in sales.

As traditional businesses have continued to shift online, Stripe’s enterprise user base has compounded since 2019, and now includes some of the largest global enterprises from Amazon and Ford to Salesforce, BMW and Maersk.

Stripe also touted its “strong momentum” with startups, with Stripe Atlas seeing a 155 percent increase in incorporations from 2019 to 2022. Stripe Atlas helps founders-to-be turn their ideas into startups, with minimal paperwork, legal complexity and fees.

The company says that 100 businesses now handle more than $1 billion on Stripe every year. Seventy-five percent of these businesses use Stripe for more than just payments and over 70 percent use Stripe to manage operations across multiple countries.

Goldman Sachs served as sole placement agent on the transaction. J.P. Morgan acted as a financial advisor.



Ingka Group, the largest Ikea franchisee and owner and operator of more than 390 Ikea stores, has deployed 100 autonomous drones from Verity in 16 locations.

The latest drone deployment is inside a Zaventem, Belgium store, the company announced in a blog post. In-store drones have been deployed in locations across Belgium, Croatia, Slovenia, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Switzerland.

Two years ago, Ingka Group and the supply chain development team at Inter Ikea Group teamed with a indoor drone systems provider Verity to start developing a fully autonomous drone solution to track inventory and improve worker wellbeing.

As a result, the 100 drones are now at work during non-operational hours to improve stock accuracy and secure availability of products for both online or physical retailing. This solution also means workers no longer need to manually confirm each pallet.

“We are investing in technology across the board so that our stores can better support customer fulfillment and become true centers for omnichannel retailing,” said Tolga Öncu, head of retail at Ingka Group (Ikea). “Introducing drones and other advanced tools—such as, for example, robots for picking up goods—is a genuine win-win for everybody. It improves our co-workers’ wellbeing, lowers operational costs, and allows us to become more affordable and convenient for our customers.”

The first drone took off in Ikea Switzerland in 2021.

“Being at the forefront when it comes to innovative and value adding solutions is part of the Ikea heritage. We are always curious of learning from others and this project is a great example of how we have collaborated across Ikea and together with an external partner come up with a solution that we all benefit from,” says Peter Ac, head of innovations in logistics and fulfilment, supply chain development, Inter Ikea Group.

Ingka Group continues to revamp stores across the world to improve handling capacities and ship online orders quickly, sustainably and affordably. The deployment news comes in the same month Verity announced a $32 million Series B funding round.

Locus Robotics

Locus Robotics, a provider of autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) for fulfillment warehouses, revealed a new data science-driven warehouse automation platform, LocusOne. It’s designed to facilitate the seamless operation and management of large quantities of multiple AMR form factors as a single, coordinated fleet in warehouses of all sizes. 

LocusOne uses proprietary data science to support the full breadth of material movement needs found in today’s fulfillment and distribution warehouses.

Based on Locus’s proprietary data science engine, LocusOne helps operators efficiently handle material payloads from 3 ounces to 3,000 pounds.

The LocusOne platform supports a system of more than 1,000 robots, operating in sites as large as 1 million square feet or more, executing multiple use cases simultaneously in a single, orchestrated solution. With LocusOne, LocusBots engage in a diverse array of tasks—including picking and putaway, case picking and putaway, replenishment, pallet building, routine routes, point-to-point transport, counting and more—within a single warehouse. The data science behind the scenes optimizes the mix of tasks throughout the day to optimize warehouse productivity.

LocusOne can integrate with any WMS system to provide flexible and dynamic fleet management and enables deployment of a mix of Locus Origin, Vector and Max AMRs tailored to meet each warehouse’s specific needs. Regular enhancements are released as over-the-air updates to Locus’s installed base of more than 250 customer sites.

“Locus lets DHL Supply Chain deploy the right bot for our customers’ varied needs, all centrally coordinated and managed on one platform. With Locus’s powerful data science strategy, delivered through the LocusView dashboards, LocusOne plays an important role in providing the key business intelligence insight we need to optimize operational efficiency and improve service quality for our customers,” said Sally Miller, chief information officer and digital transformation officer of DHL Supply Chain North America, in a statement. “Partnering with Locus has helped us deliver on our commitment to continuous innovation and digital transformation across the entire supply chain.”

Locus says its data science foundation makes it possible to navigate hundreds—or potentially more than 1,000—bots in a single footprint and enables predictive and actionable management guidance in real time to improve throughput across many use cases. LocusOne includes Locus’s LocusView package, which delivers data-driven, actionable insights across more than two dozen reports and real-time dashboards, including labor guidance, predictive insights for work completion, operational comparisons against targets or time periods, order pool tracking and guidance, mission analysis and optimization, key performance visualization and more.

LocusOne is designed to further extend Locus’s position as a provider of AMRs for automation and digitalization of warehouses, distribution, and fulfillment centers to efficiently meet increasing order volumes, labor shortages, and rising consumer expectations.

“As warehouses become increasingly complex, the ability to rely on a dependable data analytics strategy is essential to their smooth operation. Having the ability to deploy a flexible, seamless and proven AMR management platform to meet a broad range of use cases has become a must-have in the warehouse fulfillment industry,” said Ash Sharma, senior research director at Interact Analysis. “This innovative platform demonstrates how critical multi-form factor interoperability is in today’s fulfillment warehouse and reflects Locus Robotics’ commitment to innovation, ease of use, and broad industry vision over the past few years.”

LocusOne is available through the company’s Robots-as-a-Service (RaaS) business model. Various AMRs including Locus Origin, Vector and Max can be added to existing and new workflows, enabling operations to dynamically scale and adapt to changing market demands. In a study conducted by Peerless Research Group, nearly half of respondents said they would prefer to buy their robotics solution as an entire integrated system that includes hardware, software, support and maintenance.

Locus’s Recycle, Refurbish and Repurpose initiative aims to drive sustainability across all aspects of the business worldwide—from manufacturing and deployment to support and maintenance. The company is continually working to identify and implement best practice strategies and tactics designed to reduce overall waste across all areas of the organization.


Radial, an omnichannel e-commerce technology and operations provider, has partnered with robotics solutions provider Geek+ to provide automation and robotics for its new 601,045 square-foot fulfillment center in Indianapolis, Ind.

The new facility will help Radial support high-volume order fulfillment for an undisclosed, well-known clothing and apparel brand. By implementing nearly 200 P800 AMRs, or autonomous mobile robots, Radial aims to improve the brand’s e-commerce fulfillment operations, while creating over 100 new jobs for the local community.

Geek+’s P800 is a goods-to-person AMR designed for warehouse automation that uses advanced sensing technologies to navigate and move around the warehouse without any human intervention. The P800 is part of the Geek+ Picking System focused on efficient order compilation.

The P800 can transport pallets and bins weighing up to 1000 kg and move at a speed of up to two meters-per-second when fully loaded. Geek+’s goods-to-person AMR utilizes AI to optimize picking efficiency and increases storage capability with the least amount of robots possible, ensuring rapid ROI. The implementation of Geek+’s P800 robots and their picking system in Radial’s new fulfillment center aim to enhance capability, efficiency and accuracy in warehouse operations.

The new fulfillment center will be staffed by full-time workers in the roles of outbound and inbound fulfillment associates, operations supervisors, operations managers and more.


Nimble, an autonomous logistics and AI robotics company that handles products for brands like Victoria’s Secret, Adore Me and Puma, raised $65 million in a Series B financing round led by Cedar Pine, with participation from existing investors DNS Capital, GSR Ventures and Breyer Capital, among others. The additional funds bring total capital raised to $115 million.

Building on five years of experience in robotic e-commerce fulfillment, the capital will further Nimble’s goal of building a nationwide network of next-generation autonomous third-party logistics (3PL) fulfillment centers.

Nimble’s intelligent robotic fulfillment systems autonomously pick, pack and ship e-commerce orders while reducing warehouse size by up to 75 percent, the company says. Nimble’s network of robotic warehouses will provide brands coverage across more than 96 percent of the U.S. population coverage in one-to-two days. Additionally, the company touts click-to-collect savings of up to 40 percent compared to legacy 3PL providers.

Nimble founder and CEO Simon Kalouche said that many companies leveraging robotics often try to “incrementally” automate the warehouse with one retrofitted step at a time. He believes this route often leads to “suboptimal” solution design that ultimately dilutes the ROI of the technology due to the marginal gains and high integration costs.

To scale its robotic 3PL fulfillment service, Nimble has assembled a team of executives, many who have scaled logistics operations at Amazon. Building Nimble’s technology are engineers from NASA, SpaceX, Tesla, Boston Dynamics and GoogleX as well as Stanford, Carnegie Mellon and MIT.

Supply chain planning

Serta Simmons Bedding/Blue Yonder

Mattress maker Serta Simmons Bedding (SSB)‘s digital transformation will get a boost from new supply chain planning capabilities provided by Blue Yonder.

SSB is in the process of implementing Blue Yonder’s SaaS-based Integrated Demand and Supply Planning solution, part of Luminate Planning. By deploying the solution within its existing Advanced Planning System (APS), the Tuft & Needle owner wants to improve manufacturing efficiency, meet ongoing customer demand, and support its ongoing growth efforts.

“At Serta Simmons Bedding, we are focused on helping people sleep better so that they can live healthier lives, and we are continuing to enhance our supply chain capabilities to ensure we deliver on that promise,” said Bhavani Subramanian, chief supply chain officer, Serta Simmons Bedding. “The implementation of Blue Yonder’s solution is the latest step in our effort to further build a high-performing and resilient supply chain so that we can continue providing excellent, on-time in full service to our retail partners and, ultimately, sleepers.”

With Blue Yonder’s Integrated Demand and Supply Planning solution, SSB aims to better understand changing demand patterns and support advanced raw materials planning. Leveraging artificial intelligence and machine learning prescriptive recommendations, the solution offers a holistic and connected view of the supply chain planning process supporting the company’s forecast accuracy and inventory management efforts.

Third-party logistics


Extensiv, a provider of omnichannel software solutions for warehouse, inventory and order management, has released the newest version of Extensiv Network Manager and debuted the Extensiv Billing Manager.

Both solutions are part of Extensiv’s Hub, a unified omnichannel fulfillment platform, and will be available with Extensiv 3PL Warehouse Manager subscriptions. In conjunction with Extensiv’s new Labor Analytics capabilities, these new offerings can enhance Extensiv’s support for larger and more complex multi-warehouse 3PLs.

The new releases from Extensiv give 3PLs tools that can streamline billing, increase revenue through reducing the number of uncaptured charges and accelerate payments through credit card and ACH payment processing. The release offers the components of visibility and control of inventory, intelligent order routing and optimized fulfillment.

“As a leader in the apparel industry, we are constantly searching for ways to expand our company and help our customers grow their brand/business. As a way to provide additional benefits to our customers, we created our fulfillment division, 3PL by Scrappy,” said Grant Kevins, owner of Scrappy Apparel. “When searching for a platform to manage our fulfillment program, we discovered Extensiv’s Network Manager and were instantly impressed with its capabilities. Adding Network Manager to our program was a no-brainer. It has increased productivity and streamlined our retail/ecommerce fulfillment services by managing the storage and fulfillment of our customers’ inventory. We are proud to provide start-to-finish apparel solutions to our customers, and Extensiv’s Network Manager has helped us provide this service at the highest level.”

Whether a brand wants to run a multi-warehouse 3PL or partner with other 3PLs to build a fourth-party logistics (4PL) business, they can select Extensiv Network Manager to gain intelligent order routing based upon sophisticated rules, along with complete visibility and control of inventory across all warehouse locations in real time.

By intelligently routing orders to the warehouse closest to the consumer, Extensiv Network Manager helps 3PLs and their customers reduce shipping costs and accelerate delivery by selecting the warehouse with the closest shipping zone for each order.

In automating this order routing process, 3PLs can eliminate the need to assign orders manually and increase accuracy. 3PLs can also reduce time spent on administrative tasks like manual data entry, spreadsheet management, and phone and email communications to increase overall efficiency.

Additionally, Extensiv Network Manager can enable 3PLs growing out of their warehouse to partner with other 3PLs to increase their capacity beyond what a single warehouse typically handles. Then, once they have grown their customer base adequately to support the cost of a second warehouse, they can add the new warehouse to their software configuration, without migration required.

Extensiv introduced its Billing Manager solution to help 3PLs capture more monthly revenue, get paid faster and save administration time and resources.

Extensiv Billing Manager’s embedded payment system can accelerate payments by an average of 11 days, the company says. The platform can process credit card and ACH payments within the platform, and data is synced automatically to Quickbooks without manual intervention.

Because Extensiv Billing Manager integrates the invoicing and payments into a single platform, a 3PL’s customers can view their invoices and pay bills within a single screen, reducing time spend on manual processing. The company says the solution can cut billing time by an average of 75 percent.

The billing solution also can offer a 3PL’s customer access to detailed information on the charges included in an invoice, with the ability to download those charges and allocate them into their accounting system. This can reduces the number of customer service calls spent explaining charges and increases customer confidence in the accuracy of their bill.

By automating billing processes and incorporating mobile scanning, Extensiv Billing Manager helps customers capture a 3 percent additional monthly revenue from historically uncaptured charges and can increase recurring revenue by up to $15,000, Extensiv says.



TradeBeyond, a provider of global supply chain management solutions formerly known as CBX Software, has introduced a new chain of custody functionality to its multi-enterprise platform. This critical enhancement helps brands and retailers trace the material origins of their products throughout their entire supply chain, creating a digital paper trail necessary to verify their ESG claims and meet the requirements of recent global due diligence laws.

Under the U.S. Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, enacted last year, importers must be able to show the provenance of their goods to prove that no forced labor was involved in their production. TradeBeyond’s new chain of custody functionality automatically compiles the documentation that brands and retailers need to provide to U.S. Customs and Border Protection in the event of a shipping detainment or Withhold Release Order (WRO).

This enhancement creates a repository of chain of custody documentation (including invoices, declarations, and bills of lading) linked to every purchase order. Retailers can request key documentation from their suppliers directly through TradeBeyond and specify their chain of custody requirements for each order.

The system is designed to streamline traceability processes for retailers, while serving as a safeguard by ensuring that all required documentation is in place. In addition to introducing crucial visibility by centralizing documents in a readily accessible location, the system automatically flags any problems with chain of custody. As an additional safety measure, smart notifications alert retailers about orders that have unmet requirements.

TradeBeyond’s new chain of custody functionality is just the latest in a series of recent ESG enhancements to its responsible sourcing platform, which recently introduced integrations with sustainability databases like Amfori, Higg, and WRAP and expanded its supply chain mapping capabilities. The company drives collaboration for more than 15,000 retail and supplier partners, and 30,000 users in more than 50 countries.

Last-mile delivery


Locus, a last-mile logistics technology company, has launched ShipFlex, a third-party delivery platform designed to provide businesses with the flexibility to fully outsource their deliveries to a range of delivery carriers.

ShipFlex helps businesses expand their reach and achieve faster delivery speeds, enabling them to offer same-day and next-day delivery capabilities in new geographies.

Inefficient carrier selection, capacity management, and lack of real-time order visibility are some barriers that can hamper a business’s ability to make quick deliveries. Locus ShipFlex aims to address these complexities by automating entire carrier workflows for the optimal price and delivering end-to-end visibility of order-to-doorstep deliveries across in-house, contracted and outsourced fleets on a single dashboard.

The platform also gives businesses access to Locus’ global carrier partners, such as FedEx, RPX Logistics, Loomis Express, Shadowfax, SPL and more, helping them with their delivery orchestration.

Retail businesses like multinational hypermarket conglomerate Lulu Group International are adopting Locus ShipFlex to achieve a competitive edge.

“As customer demand skyrockets, the complexity of managing our carrier network has proven to be a huge optimization opportunity,” said Shinhas Majeed, group general manager, ecommerce at Lulu Group International. “With Locus’ ShipFlex, we can streamline third-party deliveries with rich carrier integrations, real-time tracking, and more on a single dashboard. This has enabled us to take full control of our third-party order-to-delivery process, operate more efficiently, and ensure timely deliveries, resulting in an enhanced customer experience.”

By deploying ShipFlex, businesses can reach customers on-demand with hyper-local delivery and maintain a branded experience with third-party carriers. Businesses can share customizable end customer-facing tracking pages while maintaining a consistent visibility and delivery experience through 3PLs.

Furthermore, ShipFlex is designed to ensure visibility at every step for dispatch managers and customers alike. ShipFlex allows the automation of SMS and email alerts to notify dispatch teams and customers of service level agreement (SLA) breaches in real-time.

Founded in 2015, Locus has executed 850 million deliveries across more than 30 countries across North America, Europe, Southeast Asia, the Middle East, Australia and New Zealand and the Indian subcontinent. Its technology has also helped save $275 million in transit costs and offset 10 million kilograms in CO2 emissions.

3D printing


Hilos, a design, development and infinite restock platform enabling brands to launch 3D-printed footwear lines without inventory or waste, has announced it has secured $3 million in funding.

The company, which aims to scale the use of 3D printing technology for on-demand footwear, will use this investment to accelerate its work with innovative and sustainability-conscious brands while expanding into new product capabilities.

Prominent investors include two retired execs from Nike, former chief operating officer Eric Sprunk, and former vice president of global footwear sourcing and manufacturing Greg Bui, as well as Better Ventures, Builders VC and XRC Ventures. Bui has joined the Hilos team to lead a rapid scale-up of the technology and end-to-end supply chain solutions, while Sprunk is actively helping advise and build out the board.

In 2022, the company launched the first scaled 3D-printed mules, clogs and sandals into the market, and won awards at SXSW in the categories of Innovative World Technologies and Best in Show.

Last year, Hilos also partnered with Yale’s Center for Business, BASF Forward AM, HP and AMT to produce the first environmental evaluation of 3D-printed footwear. The case study found that Hilos technology cut carbon emissions by 48 percent and water usage by 99 percent.

Fit technology


Volumental said it has reached a milestone in scanning 20 million consumers’ feet, yielding 40 million individual scans.

On Feb. 18, Volumental achieved its all-time record of 47,502 shoppers scanned. The data derived from these scans helps consumers find the shoes that feel the best while also enabling footwear manufacturers to improve fit, comfort and performance.

Volumental’s AI-powered foot scanners can be found in shoe brands and retailers including New Balance, Red Wing, Fleet Feet, The Athlete’s Foot, Hoka, Wintersteiger, Intersport and many others.

Alper Aydemir, CEO of Volumental, pointed out in a statement that the data taken from the technology has allowed brands to expand into new categories—specifically pointing to Lululemon’s recently launched women’s footwear line.

Earlier this year, the company announced its new self-service user interface, allowing in-store shoppers to access Volumental’s foot scanning experience and AI-powered footwear recommendations without the need for a sales associate’s help. The beta testing has yielded “strong” results, the company says, highlighting an improved in-store customer experience with more frequent visits and fewer merchandise returns.



Supply chain management software company Tecsys launched a Digital Twin 3D Heat Map, creating a no-code, out-of-the-box 3D representation of the warehouse. This customizable analytics solution helps end users to visualize and optimize key warehouse operations.

Tecsys’ Digital Twin 3D Heat Map does not require custom code or lengthy services engagements; rather, it automatically maps warehouse data to a 3D representation of the warehouse floor and enables customers to track pick and replenishment operations by navigating the warehouse on their PC or mobile device.

Optimizing warehouse operations is a common challenge for many organizations due to the abundance of data available and the difficulties in presenting it in a way that can be both easy to understand and actionable. With this digital twin solution from Tecsys, Elite WMS users can address this challenge by visualizing warehouse data and identifying areas of interactivity where there are opportunities to improve workflows and throughput.

This new embedded composable dashboard connects directly with Elite WMS, and helps organizations to track and monitor performance metrics, as well as make layout adjustments using a drag-and-drop interface.

Tecsys’ Digital Twin 3D Heat Map solution is backward compatible with multiple versions of the Elite WMS product, effectively allowing both new and legacy customers to leverage the benefits of this new analytics solution. The digital twin representation can be generated automatically with Elite WMS data, a process that usually requires manual input and mapping. By delivering a compatible and visually intuitive tool, Tecsys aims to unlock digital twins for any warehouse operator, expanding their use far beyond organizations with significant financial resources.