Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Warehouse robotics start-up lands $20m funding

Steve Rogerson
August 7, 2018

Californian robotics warehouse automation firm InVia Robotics has received $20m in new funding. The series B round was led by Point72 Ventures and included investments from Upfront Ventures and Embark Ventures.
The funds will be used to boost the commercial deployment of InVia's Picker robots and cloud-based robotics-as-a-service (RaaS) management system in warehouses as necessitated by the scaling ecommerce market.
"To compete with behemoths like Amazon, warehouse automation is critical for ecommerce companies, but the overhead cost of purchasing a fleet of robots is often beyond reach," said Lior Elazary, founder and CEO of InVia Robotics. "We're excited to have this funding to fuel the growth of our subscription-based RaaS technology to optimise warehouse performance and increase productivity for our customers."
The Picker robot works collaboratively alongside human workers to eliminate the need for operators to walk around the warehouse. This lets human workers concentrate on more complex tasks such as picking and quality control. This has the added benefit of reducing operator exposure to dangerous warehouse operations such as forklifts and heavy lifting.
By automating the storage and retrieval process in this manner, InVia allows the warehouse to multiply human efforts by up to a claimed five times, enabling ecommerce warehouses to handle the tremendous growth in consumer demands. The subscription-based model allows companies of any size to implement robotic automation without the traditional hefty price tag. The holistic RaaS platform seamlessly integrates with any existing layout and software.
"Ecommerce industry growth is driving the need for more warehouse automation to fulfil demand, and AI-driven robots can deliver that automation with the flexibility to scale across varied workflows," said Daniel Gwak, co-head of AI Investments at Point72 Ventures. “Our investment in InVia Robotics reflects our conviction in AI as a key enabler for the supply chain industry.”
The Picker robots are deployed across US warehouses and distribution centres of all sizes, including Rakuten Super Logistics and Hollar. In total, more than 100 Picker robots are being used within customer warehouses providing an overall efficiency boost of 300 to 400 per cent.
This funding will drive expansion across the company including a plan to double the current employee count by the end of the year. Additionally, funding will support the continued building of Picker robots in Los Angeles, California.
"It was clear to us from day one that Lior and the InVia team have built a superior solution to tackle the $80bn fulfilment warehouse automation market," said Greg Bettinelli, partner at Upfront Ventures. "We've been continually impressed with their product innovation and impressive commerce partner pipeline, and we're thrilled to continue to support them."
This additional financing brings the company's total funding to $29m to date.
"Funding in robotics has been incredible over the past several years, and for good reason," said John Santagate, research director at analysis firm IDC. "The growth in funding is a function of a market that has become accepting of the technology, a technology area that has matured to meet market demands, and vision of the future that must include flexible automation technology. Products must move faster and more efficiently through the warehouse today to keep up with consumer demand and autonomous mobile robots offer a cost-effective way to deploy automation to enable speed, efficiency and flexibility."
Founded in 2015, the company provides robotics warehouse automation for ecommerce distribution centres and supply chains.