Warehouse fulfillment automation vendor Locus Robotics today unveiled a $40 million venture capital investment that the firm said will help it drive research and development (R&D) and expand into Europe for sales of its autonomous mobile robots (AMRs).
The “series D” investment was led by Zebra Ventures, the strategic investment arm of Zebra Technologies. Existing investors, including Scale Venture Partners, also participated in the round. The new backing brings Locus Robotics’ total funding to more than $105 million.
Zebra Ventures has been investing broadly in DC technology, participating in a $46 million funding round in 2019 for AMR vendor Fetch Robotics, and taking part in an $8.3 million round for robotic automation startup Plus One Robotics Inc. in 2018.
In addition to supporting the its R&D growth, Wilmington, Massachusetts-based Locus said the proceeds will be used to accelerate its expansion into new, global markets, including the launch of a European (EU) headquarters and several strategic reseller partnerships worldwide throughout 2020.
The investment comes as the Covid-19 pandemic has quickly transformed the retail industry, pushing adoption of online and omnichannel purchasing to new highs. Locus says its robotic fulfillment solution enables brands, retailers, and third-party logistics (3PL) operators to meet higher order volumes and increasing consumer demand for e-commerce, retail, omnichannel, and manufacturing order fulfillment.
"Automation has proven to be a critical solution for retail and third-party logistics businesses during this challenging time," Tony Palcheck, senior director at Zebra Ventures, said in a release. "As the retail industry continues to shift to e-commerce, Locus Robotics' warehouse automation will help businesses meet the demands of this ‘new normal,’ ensuring that customers can increase operational efficiency to meet requirements for fast, accurate delivery."
Locus has seen rising demand for its AMRs in recent months, announcing a deal in March to install hundreds of its rolling LocusBots at 10 U.S. warehouses run by the global 3PL DHL Supply Chain. The company also announced a partnership in January with HighJump Software Inc., a unit of German warehousing solutions provider Körber Logistics Systems, to resell and implement Locus AMRs.
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