Future of Robotic Nano Fulfillment: 1MRobotics emerges from stealth
with $25M for ‘nano-fulfillment’ centers
As you may know, I’m deeply interested in following robotics and A.I. startups.
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1MRobotics’ platform — a small warehouse of robots that pack orders — can be installed nearly anywhere and doesn’t need to be maintenanced regularly, ideally abstracting away some of the logistics of deliveries.
I like retail tech, I like it a lot.
“The pandemic has completely propelled ecommerce sales, purchase habits and consumer behavior to the next level — this new norm demands a new type of infrastructure to support rapid delivery operations at a global scale.”
Advent of Robotic Nano-Fulfillment Centers
This is fundamentally then a retail-tech story. Yet again I find myself talking about a Tel Aviv startup, basically the third I am covering just today.
It is a startup developing next-generation robotic dark stores, or as they classify them - robotic nano-fulfillment centers, announced today that Ibex Investors led their A-round funding along with its existing backers Emerge VC, Target Global, and INT3, with participation from other prominent investors. The Series A funding brings its total raised to $25 million, including a previous seed round of $8.5 million.
Think about it, leveraging AI, the system learns supply and demand patterns appearing in the order flow of the goods stored in the warehouse, Yair says, and “optimizes” the stock in response.
I’m not sure what a dark store is, but you get the idea.
This then is a pretty useful case of the use of robotics.
Very dismayed that they don’t have a demo on their YouTube yet, talk about stealth! There’s a catch, according to TC there’s actually a lot of competition in this concept. The model isn’t dissimilar to Fabric’s, which has raised more than $300 million at an over-$1 billion valuation for its micro-fulfillment robotics technology. Other rivals include Attabotics, Nimble Robotics and better-established players like AutoStore (which went public last October), U.K.-based grocery fulfillment tech firm Ocado Group and Noyes Technologies.
The Micro-Fulfillment Space is pretty Hot
Tesla’s A.I. day about its robots is also coming up at the end of this month, so the future of robotics is going to be fun to behold.
So all of these are startups I’d really want to cover. I can barely keep up with the ones YC and TC throw at me.
I’m a big believer in dark stores and robotic delivery eventually taking over, and sooner than you think!
On-demand delivery is a super challenging space and the retail space is pretty volatile, especially heading into a critical 2023 year. I’m such a sucker for the “launching out of stealth” part, and this is no different. The company is launching out of stealth while also announcing exciting collaborations with leading Fortune 500 CPG brands and Q-commerce players. The financing will be leveraged for expansion into new global markets and enterprise clients, as well as the growth of the team.
1MRobotics, which is headquartered in Tel Aviv, Israel, was founded in 2021 by Eyal Yair, Co-Founder & CEO, and Roee Tuval, Co-Founder & COO.
The team looks pretty small and pretty young. What is the dark store eh? On-demand delivery startups like Getir and Gopuff operate hundreds of dark stores within the cities they service — one analysis projects that there will be 45,000 dark stores in operation by 2030. Clearly this is a favorable and highly competitive niche.
I feel a certain sense of excitement and anxiety when I think of dark stores, dark kitchens and Cloud Kitchens.
With a long-covid crisis the food industry is really suffering and more automation is obviously part of the answer. Robotics is just in its infancy, but the potential here is obviously going to change the labor force over time. From robo-taxis to E-commerce warehouses to grocery delivery and last-mile delivery things will vastly change in the 2020s and 2030s.
Who else got in on the funding? The 1MRobotics funding was led by Ibex Investors with participation from Emerge VC, Target Global and INT3, as well as collaborations with brands including Nespresso, AB InBev and REEF Technolog.
I go into some more detail continued.
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