Industrial automation startup SVT Robotics plans to expand its software platform that enables businesses to rapidly adopt robotics, thanks to a $3.5 million funding round announced today, the firm said. Cowboy Ventures led the “seed round,” with additional participation from Dynamo Ventures, Schematic Ventures, Ludlow Ventures, and NRV.
Economic turbulence triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the need for fast and flexible robot adoption to keep up with supply chain demands, Norfolk, Virginia-based SVT said. In response, the new investment round will enable SVT to broaden product development efforts for its robotic Integration Platform as a Service (iPaaS). The software platform launched in 2018, and SVT is now expanding its product feature set to support this customer growth and market demand.
"We believe supply chain automation will continue, even during these difficult times, as businesses strive to meet increased consumer expectations,” Ted Wang of Cowboy Ventures said in a release. “SVT is well positioned to help companies complete their deployments more quickly, less expensively, and with less risk. Although the company had the resources to ride out a downturn, we invested to help SVT expand its product offering, setting them up to become an enduring company.”
The rise of e-commerce and the ascension of amazon.com Inc. have pressured retail executives to embrace robotics in recent years, but integration problems among various hardware platforms and enterprise software products have stymied the vision of applying artificial intelligence (AI) and data analytics, SVT Robotics CEO and Co-founder A.K. Schultz said in a briefing.
However, solutions have been slow to arrive, because as individual robotic automation products are connected to host systems like warehouse management system (WMS) and warehouse executive system (WES) software, the combined, complex system becomes “brittle” and resistant to upgrades, Schultz said.
According to SVT, the problem can be solved by creating an intermediate “abstraction level” that sits between those various hardware and software products, allowing an array of best-in-class “point solutions” to communicate through a single medium.
Schultz says this approach will free robotics clients such as third party logistics providers (3PLs) to avoid the requirement of using a single, large technology provider and instead to pick—and quickly install—any robotic solution that fits the demands of their various clients. “Being agnostic about robotics and technology, we’re focused on integration only; we don’t make machines, robots, WMS, LMS, or TMS,” Schultz says. “We make a common layer that people can agree on, and that will drive the industry forward.”
Excited to share @SVTrobotics closed investment to expand software platform that enables businesses to rapidly adopt robots. Great teams at @cowboyVC, @thisisdynamo, @schematicvc, @ludlowventures, and @NRVVC. #connectwithsvt #robotics #industrialautomationhttps://t.co/11l2gVJDuF— SVT Robotics (@SVTrobotics) May 5, 2020