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Formic Technologies announced that it raised $26.5 million in Series A funding this week.
The Chicago-based company offers turnkey robotic solutions to manufacturers. Formic began in September 2020, with a mission to make automation easy and cost-effective.
Formic’s robotics as a service (RAAS) model offers robots from a variety of companies, including Universal Robots, FANUC and ABB. The robots are owned, programmed, installed and maintained by Formic.
The company’s customers pay for the robots by the hour after all of the robots are installed and fully functional on the factory floor.
“We came to the conclusion that what manufacturers needed was not any specific new technology, but a better way to access the technology that would best meet their needs,” Saman Farid, co-founder and CEO of Formic Technologies, said. “Formic offers that access at a fraction of the cost or energy, as we take on the heavy lifting.”
The company has deployed robots across various industries, its customers include Honeywell, CAT, John Deere, Georgia Nut and the U.S. Navy.
The recent round of funding will be used to further Formic’s mission and scale its operations. The company plans to grow its team across all areas of business, particularly in sales, engineering, finance and marketing.
The funding round was led by Lux Capital, with participation from Initialized Ventures, Correlation Ventures, Lorimer Ventures and One Planet VC.
“Formic’s model of on-demand robotics is right-sizing automation for customers across all areas of manufacturing,” Shahin Farshchi, partner at Lux Capital, said. “With the current challenges of the labor market and supply chain, the adaptability that Formic brings to the table is addressing a user area that longtime integrators haven’t.”
Formic is also expanding its executive team. Farshchi will be joining Formic’s board of directors. The company is also taking on Steve Olszewski, former general manager of Financelt, CEO of Spruce Finance and senior vice president of Discover Bank. Olszewski will be Formic’s VP of deployment operations.
Formic in the field
Georgia Nut began working with Formic to solve its staffing issues. Typically, Georgia Nut found itself short 15-20 people per shift. In particular, the company needed help palletizing across multiple production lines.
Formic worked with Sourcelink Solutions to create a robotic solution for Georgia Nut. The end result involved a HC20 collaborative robot from Yaskawa Motoman, a customized end of arm tool, safety scanners and wheels for mobility between different packing lines. The system is controlled by a touch screen interface.
The robotic solution is capable of palletizing up to 10 cases a minute, and can be controlled remotely from workers’ cell phones or homes.
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