Nomagic, a Warsaw, Poland-based developer of pick-and-place robots for warehouses, closed a $8.6 million seed funding round. The round was led by Khosla Ventures and is one of the biggest seed rounds for a Polish startup to date.
E-commerce order fulfillment faces worker shortages worldwide. Since automation can relieve human warehouse workers of tedious tasks, Nomagic claimed that its smart pick-and-place robots offer high flexibility and that they can help reduce the cost per pick.
The company added that its artificial intelligence and cloud platform enable its robotic arms to handle millions of different products. Magicloader is able to determine how to pick products never seen before and detect rare anomalies such as robots picking two items at once.
“There is no benchmark for pick-and-place robotics systems right now,” said Kacper Nowicki, co-founder and CEO of Nomagic. “The unique part of our solution is the focus on reliability of our systems and ability to minimize times when on-site operators have to take action. Our advanced anomaly detection systems identify rare cases when something goes wrong, and these are handled autonomously by the robot itself or remotely by one of our operators.”
Nomagic builds, deploys Magicloader
Magicloader analyzes the position, shape, and characteristics of each item, said Nomagic. It “inspects them and processes them in an efficient and reliable way using world-leading AI,” according to the company.
Nomagic uses off-the-shelf hardware with its machine learning software. “It is providing complete solutions to customers in a Robotics-as-a-Service (RaaS) model, where customers sign service-level agreements based on business metrics,” Nowicki told The Robot Report. “Nomagic delivers hardware and software and takes care of remote monitoring and maintenance of all its systems.”
Last year, Nomagic deployed its system at France-based Cdiscount to build the first fully automated packing line for e-commerce.
“Quality of service is essential for a leading e-commerce platform like Cdiscount, notably during peak seasons, such as Black Friday and Christmas,” noted Pierre-Yves Escarpit, deputy CEO of Cdiscount in charge of supply chain. “Operational excellence, rigorous forecasting, and warehouse automation are key to achieve our objectives. Nomagic solutions have proved reliable picking-and-packing products and consistently meet our expectations in terms of robot cadence and availability.”
Nomagic also works with third-party logistics providers (3PLs) operating warehouses. They can integrate its products with existing storage, sorting, and packing systems and help customers move toward full automation.
Cloud-based computing helps customers with troubleshooting, Nowicki said. “Access to the live robot monitoring data allows for real-time alerting in case there are any problems with these systems, as well as remote access to solve some of these problems,” he said. “So far, we have relied on customer-provided Internet access, but we look forward to affordable and fast independent 5G connections.”
In addition, the RaaS model provides a fast return on investment for supply chain operations with minimal client oversight, said the company.
Investment and opportunities
“The Nomagic team has made significant strides since its founding in 2017,” said Sven Strohband, managing director of Khosla Ventures. “There’s a massive opportunity within the European market for warehouse robotics and automation, and Nomagic is well-positioned to capture some of that market share.”
London-based Hoxton Ventures co-led the round with existing investors, London-based DN Capital and Manta Ray and Cologne, Germany-based Capnamic Ventures.
Nomagic said the seed investment will support its product roadmap to enhance its smart, fast, and simple robots, as well as expand to other sectors like fashion e-commerce. It will also allow the company to finance its deployments under a RaaS or subscription model.
“Our ambition is to deploy more than a thousand smart robots in the next five years,” stated Nowicki. “This seed round is a recognition of the unique AI and cloud technology we built, and [it] will allow us to deploy robotic solutions with a model that offers the most benefits for warehouse managers in terms of flexibility and efficiency.”
“We met our first goal to match sustained human performance, which may be different depending on the use case and the layout of the station,” he added. “And we are working on superhuman speeds, of course.”
As part of the round, Philippe Hémard, former vice president of logistics for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa at Amazon, joins Nomagic as an advisor.
“The supply chain is increasingly playing a larger role in overall customer satisfaction and bottom-line results,” stated Hémard. “Nomagic’s solution leverages the latest in picking automation combined with an innovative Robot-as-a-Service model. Their approach makes this technology attractive and affordable for all customers, from retailers to logistics operators, and I’m excited to be a part of the journey.”
As for when Magicloader will be available, Nowicki said, “In 2020, our primary focus is on European markets.”