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Beijing-based ForwardX Robotics announced the completion of its initial Series C1 funding round, raising $31 million. This round was led by Taikang Life Insurance, with Qualcomm Ventures and Starlight Capital also contributing to the round.
The new funding comes only seven months after the close of its $63 million Series B round, and it brings ForwardX to approximately $100 million in total investment since its founding in 2016.
“Our latest round of funding contributes to the positive momentum we have been building over the past 24 months. With a growing market share across our key territories, we look forward to continuing to deliver transformational results to our current and future customers,” founder and CEO Nicolas Chee stated. “While previously we’ve been focused on the domestic Chinese market, 2021 has brought us more success outside of China. We’re really looking forward to making our solutions available to a wider audience and cementing our position as a dominant player in North and South America, Asia, and Europe.”
ForwardX has a portfolio of AMR solutions that can be deployed into a variety of material handling applications from the warehouse to the manufacturing floor. The company presented a session at the recent fall 2021 Mobile Robotics Week titled: “Mobile Robots in Manufacturing Environments: Recent Case Studies.” You can replay the session for free at the RoboWeeks website.
ForwardX plans to use the new capital to accelerate its research and development timeline, increase its deployment capabilities in key markets, such as the U.S., and expand its sales reach into new markets. An example of this ambition is an upcoming office opening on the East Coast of the US to expand its ability to serve the North American market. Furthermore, since the company’s last funding round, ForwardX has stayed true to its word, opening a new office in Tokyo, Japan and adding partners across Asia-Pacific, Europe, and South America.
“It’s an exciting time for us and the industry as a whole. COVID-19 made it difficult to expand overseas during 2020, but this year has brought us a lot more success in that regard,” said ForwardX’s COO Yaxin Guan. “e-commerce in the U.S. has seen its 18-month spike become the new base level resulting in accelerated demand for automation, and, with this round of funding, we’re in a better position to deliver quality solutions to North American customers.”
ForwardX’s customers include:
- JD Logistics
- SF DH
- Supply Chain China
- TCL Electronics
- ITOCHU Logistics China
- Dongfeng Motor Corporation
“The e-commerce revolution is driving the need for more intelligent warehouse automation tools,” said James Shen, vice president, Qualcomm International, Inc. and managing director of Qualcomm Ventures China. “ForwardX’s vision-first autonomous mobile robot solution helps increase operational productivity and reliability. We’re excited to support ForwardX in leveraging AI to optimize warehousing and manufacturing environments and enable 5G private network applications.”
“Business, technological, and social drivers, as well as the COVID-19 pandemic, have had an accelerative effect on the mobile robotics sector, particularly for autonomous mobile robots (AMRs). Deployments are up and increasing rapidly, and you can expect more of the same in the future,” stated Ash Sharma, managing director at Interact Analysis, in a recent piece for sister publication Robotics Business Review.