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Locus Robotics raised another $117 million in funding for its autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) that are used in fulfillment and distribution warehouses. The Series F funding round was led by Goldman Sachs Asset Management and G2 Venture Partners. As part of the financing, Mark Midle, Managing Director, Goldman Sachs, and Zach Barasz, Partner, G2 Venture Partners, will join the Locus board of directors.
Locus’ range of AMRs is made up of Origin, the company’s flagship AMR that can operate for 14 hours on a single charge and has a payload capacity of 80 lbs, Vector, an AMR with a 600 lb payload capacity, and Max, the company’s heaviest capacity AMR with a 3,000 lb payload limit.
Locus acquired Waypoint Robotics in 2021, another AMR company whose portfolio of heavier capacity AMRs complemented Locus’. The Vector and the Max were originally Waypoint robots before the acquisition.
The Locus AMRs are available through a Robotics as a Service (RaaS) model. This model not only allows the company to deploy more quickly, but it also gives the company the ability to step in if a robot isn’t operating properly. This RaaS model requires a lot of capital to be done properly, which partially explains why Locus continues to raise funding.
“The RaaS model allows us to send more bots if a customer needs it,” Kait Peterson, senior director of product marketing at Locus, recently told The Robot Report. “So, for example, in peak timeframe, when a customer’s volume goes up significantly, we can send additional bots to the customer site to allow them to handle that additional capacity in their warehouse, and then they can send them back once they’re done using them, or they can keep them, either way.”
Wilmington, Mass.-based Locus Robotics has now raised $422 million since it was founded in 2014. The company spun out of Quiet Logistics, a third-party logistics provider (3PL) that was at one time a customer of Kiva Systems. Shortly after Amazon acquired Kiva for $775 million in 2012, Amazon stopped supporting the robots for third-party customers. So Quiet Logistics developed its own mobile robots, which eventually turned into Locus Robotics.
“This new round of funding marks an important inflection point for Locus Robotics as we look toward our next stage of growth, and we strategically chose to bring in investors with a wealth of experience in both public and private markets to advise us as we continue our journey,” said Rick Faulk, CEO, Locus Robotics. “As the rapid digital transformation of the supply chain continues, warehouses increasingly seek flexible, intelligent robotics automation to improve productivity and grow their operations, despite ongoing labor shortages and exploding order volumes.”
Growing customer base
Locus has more than 90 customers worldwide, including CEVA Logistics, DHL, Material Bank, Boots UK, GEODIS, Ryder, Verst Logistics, Radial and others. In September 2022, Locus reached a major milestone with its 1 billionth pick. It took Locus 1,542 days to pick its first 100 million units and just 40 days for the last 100 million picks. Locus robots now average more than three million picks per day around the world.
“Our 5-year partnership with Locus has enabled DHL to deliver more resilient, flexible, and scalable supply chain solutions to our customers to support faster delivery, improve operational efficiency, and reduce employee workloads,” said Sally Miller, CIO of DHL Supply Chain North America. “In that time, Locus’s ability to integrate groundbreaking technologies into our operations seamlessly and in a targeted way has been a tremendous success for our customers’ supply chains.”
Miller was recently a guest on The Robot Report Podcast, and she keynoted our RoboBusiness event. She discussed DHL’s partnership with Locus at length on the podcast, and detailed how DHL is using other robots such as Boston Dynamics’ Stretch. You can listen to that podcast here.
“Locus has established itself as an innovative, high-quality market leader for flexible automation in the massive warehouse fulfillment and distribution market,” said Miller. “Our investment reflects our view that Locus has the product offering and the operational excellence required to meet and exceed the market challenges posed by today’s dynamic economic environment.”
Locus said it has more than 230 sites under contract around the world, with some having as many as 500 LocusBots per site.
“As order volumes continue to increase and labor shortages persist worldwide, robotics automation is now a must-have for warehouse operators,” said Ash Sharma, managing director, Interact Analysis. “Locus is uniquely positioned as a leader in digital transformation in this enormous global market as warehouse operators increasingly focus on scalability, fast ROI, and ease of deployment.”
Also participating in the Series F round were Stack Capital Group, Next47, Stafford Capital Partners, HESTA, Newton Investment Management North America, Gray’s Creek Capital, Silicon Valley Bank, Hercules Capital, Inc., BOND, and Scale Venture Partners.