Massachusetts-based Locus Robotics as we speak introduced a $150 million Sequence E. The spherical, led by Tiger World Administration and Bond, brings the agency’s complete to round $250 thus far, and values the robotics firm at $1 billion. Locus is notable for a extra modular and versatile answer for automating warehouses than lots of its opponents (see: Berkshire Grey). The corporate basically leases out robotic fleet for organizations seeking to automate logistics.
“We will change the wings on the airplane whereas it’s flying,” CEO Rick Faulk tells TechCrunch. Principally nobody else can do this. Firms need versatile automation. They don’t need to bolt something to the ground. If you happen to’re a third-party logistics firm and you’ve got a two, three, four-year contract, the very last thing you need to do is make investments $25-$50 million to purchase a large answer, bolt it to the ground and be locked into all of this upfront expense.”
The corporate at present has some 4,000 robots deployed throughout 80 websites. Roughly 80% of its deployments are within the U.S., with the remaining 20% in Europe. A part of this large funding spherical will go towards increasing worldwide operations, together with an even bigger push into the EU, in addition to the APAC area, the place it presently doesn’t have a lot of a footprint.
The corporate will even be investing in R&D, gross sales and advertising and marketing and growing its present headcount of 165 by 75 within the coming yr.
The pandemic is clearly a driver in curiosity round this model of automation, with extra firms trying towards robotics for assist.
“COVID has put a spike within the development of on-line ordering, clearly, and that spike might be a 4 to 5 yr bounce,” says Faulk. “If you happen to have a look at the development of e-commerce, it’s been on a gentle upward tick. It was about 11% final yr and COVID put a spike as much as 16/17%. We expect that genie’s out of the bottle, and it’s not going again any time quickly.”
The funding spherical additionally factors to an organization that seemingly has no need to be acquired by a bigger title, akin to Kiva Methods’ transformation into Amazon Robotics.
“We’ve got no real interest in being acquired,” the CEO says. “We expect we are able to construct essentially the most and biggest worth by working independently. There are traders that need to spend money on serving to everybody that’s not named ‘Amazon’ compete.”