Exotec Solutions SAS, which makes the Skypod 3D warehouse automation for e-commerce retail, today announced a $90 million financing round. The Croix, France-based company said it will use the funding to continue its international growth, especially in its newly formed Atlanta and Tokyo teams. The startup said it hopes to become the leader in robotics solutions for logistics and predicted that will produce up to 4,000 robots per year by 2021.
Former GE engineers Romain Moulin and Renaud Heitz founded Exotec in 2015 after they learned about Amazon.com Inc.‘s acquisition of Kiva Systems. The company claimed that its automated storage and retrieval system (ASRS) enables retailers and e-commerce providers to quadruple their warehouse productivity and increase their storage capacity by up to five times. Exotec said its autonomous robots can move in a unique three-dimensional pattern at a speed of 13 feet per second, creating a faster and more efficient picking and preparation process.
Exotec tries to keep up with growing markets
Warehouse robotics have a 45% compound annual growth rate (CAGR), while the global automation market’s CAGR is also constantly growing by 10% to 15%, said Exotec, citing an unidentified study.
“There is a global need for robotics solutions in warehouses, but logisticians are often concerned about investing in traditional fixed automation in this fast-changing world,” stated Moulin, CEO of Exotec. “This $50 billion market should be supplied with flexible and efficient solutions to fulfill customers’ needs and new shopping timelines. We offer a new generation of warehouse robotics and have the largest deployed and operational systems across three continents.”
Exotec said its revenue has doubled this year as several new international clients, including Carrefour and Fast Retailing (Uniqlo group), adopted their technology in key warehouses. The company said this latest funding round will allow it to further expand and deliver Skypod to a wider range of clients in the U.S., Europe and Asia, across numerous business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) retail sectors such as fashion, grocery, pharmaceutical, hardware, and manufacturing.
In North America, Exotec said it is expanding its footprint to meet the increasing demand for automated logistics. The company signed partnerships with highly experienced American integrators such as AHS, S&H Systems, and Conveyco to accelerate market penetration. Other customers include Decathlon Sporting Goods and Cdiscount. Exotec is also currently hiring in North America to support its operations and its growth.
“Brands and retailers are seeing tremendous surge in e-commerce, accelerated by the current pandemic,” said Rudi Lueg, managing director of North America at Exotec. “They must now transform their supply chain to gain competitive advantage. Exotec is addressing this challenge and is the leading player in scalable robotics systems.”
Exotec cited its partnership with international retailer Fast Retailing, which was announced late in 2019. The company’s technology is under deployment in two warehouses in Japan, with 1,000 Skypods improving logistics efficiency for Uniqlo stores. Exotec Nihon has been created to support the operations in Japan, and more than 30 employees will be hired in the coming months.
Investors pleased with progress
83 North led Exotec’s $90 million financing round, with participation from Dell Technologies Capital and support from past investors Iris Capital and Breega.
“83North has invested in many teams and companies enabling the future of e-commerce,” said Laurel Bowden, a partner at 83North. “In our opinion, Exotec is one of those special companies, where the founders’ backgrounds, company culture, outstanding technology, delighted customers, and a rapidly changing market make it a very unique investment.”
“Exotec is revolutionizing the adoption of robotics through its innovative and unique technology,” added Scott Darling, president of Dell Technologies Capital. “Having relied heavily on world-class R&D skills aligned with solid industrial processes, Exotec is at the forefront of this burgeoning market and clearly the leader in the field.”
“Exotec has proven they can address their market needs in many new ways in the past year, scaling in very selective markets such as Japan or food distribution,” said Julien-David Nitlech, managing partner at Iris Capital. “We are confident that this new round will fuel yet another record growth phase across three continents.”
“As Exotec’s earliest investors, we are both delighted and proud to witness first-hand Exotec’s trailblazing growth and expansion into international markets,” noted François Paulus, a founding partner at Breega. “Founders Romain and Renaud have been able to meet growing demands while building and scaling a great team in record time. We’re looking forward to seeing what progress this latest fundraise brings.”