December 3, 2018

Backed by new VC, Vecna Robotics spins off from parent company

Backed by new VC, Vecna Robotics spins off from parent company

Firm will focus on industrial robotics and human workflow for warehouse and e-commerce arenas.

By DC Velocity Staff

Autonomous material handling provider Vecna Robotics has landed venture capital investment and re-launched itself as a standalone business unit, spinning off from parent company Vecna Technologies to maximize its impact on both robotics and human workflow in the industrial sector, the firm said Nov. 27.

In recent months, Vecna Robotics brought on Dan Patt as CEO in January, after he had served as deputy director for the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD)'s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's (DARPA) Strategic Technology Office (STO). More recently, Vecna over the summer finalized an investment led by Columbus, Ohio-based venture capital and private equity firm Drive Capital this summer.

The firm did not disclose the size of the investment, but Drive Capital said the funding would help Veca to meet growing demand for its automated material handling, hybrid fulfillment, and workflow optimization solutions. "Vecna Robotics is developing new technology that sets itself apart from other robotics providers," Nick Solaro, partner at Drive Capital, said in a release. "Their technology produces insights into how complex workflows between heterogeneous machines and people should be managed to enhance productivity." 

Its former parent, Cambridge, Mass.-based Vecna Technologies, calls itself an information technology (IT) solutions company with healthcare sector products including the Patient Information Exchange (a patient self-service portal)and QC PathFinder (electronic infection surveillance software). While Vecna Robotics is also based in Cambridge, it now defines itself as a venture-backed, robotics and technology company that competes with industrial robotics vendors such as Clearpath Robotics, Seegrid, and Fetch Robotics.

Vecna says its self-driving vehicles collect data, analyze their surroundings, and dynamically react to obstacles or unforseen events, while teaching themselves to become more efficient over time. In a recent demonstration of that approach, the company teamed up with RightHand Robotics Inc. to offer users a combination of their two platforms that provides autonomous e-commerce order fulfillment.

By standing up as its own company, Vecna says it intends to revolutionize the assembly line mentality of warehouses and manufacturers, in an age when rising e-commerce volumes and ever-changing consumer demands are boosting the pressure on companies to be more efficient. Vecna intends to provide smarter solutions in warehouses to optimize workflow, empower humans with smarter technology, and create long-term value for customers and investors, the company said.

"This is the cusp of the most exciting time in robotics industry history, and I want Vecna Robotics to represent everything positive that can help industry improve productivity while giving flexibility and opportunities to an engaged workforce," Patt said in a release. "We're passionate about developing solutions for distribution, retail, and manufacturing industries that integrate people and robots to increase efficiency."

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