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Ocado Group announced today that it is acquiring material handling startup Myrmex for $11M (€10.2M). The Myrmex solution will accelerate the development of intelligent asset handling systems for the Ocado Smart Platform. The two companies have agreed to the terms of the transaction and expect to complete the acquisition by June 6, 2022.
Ocado Group previously acquired a minority stake in Myrmex Inc in October 2020 and appointed them to design and develop a proprietary solution that automates the loading of totes containing customer orders onto frames ready for dispatch. The ‘Automated Frameload’ solution (AFL) was unveiled at Ocado Re:Imagined in January 2022 as one of the seven critical innovations, and will be going live in Ocado Group CFCs later this year.
The acquisition of Myrmex will enable faster rollout of AFL across Ocado Group’s global CFC footprint, as well as open up new opportunities for the development of bespoke automation solutions for the Ocado Smart Platform. Myrmex has developed products and solutions applicable to a variety of processes in Ocado’s CFCs, but its technology also has potential applications for in-store locations, specifically for automating the grocery order pickup process.
Myrmex functions as a customer facing solution, similar to a bank ATM, where customers can pickup their egrocery order 24/7. The backend of the solution will consist of an Ocado high-density, cube storage and retrieval solution.
A team of over 30 people from Myrmex with deep domain expertise in automation hardware and software will join Ocado Technology’s 2,500 strong team of technologists.
“We are excited to welcome Myrmex to Ocado Group. We’ve been impressed with Myrmex’s capabilities and their ability to design, develop and bring to market bespoke solutions,” said James Gralton, chief engineering officer at Ocado Technology. “The collaboration between Ocado Group and Myrmex led to the launch of Automated Frameload in a little over a year. This acquisition is another important step on our automation journey and provides an opportunity to further grow and expand our engineering presence in Southern Europe as we continue to invest in developing Myrmex’s technologies for the Ocado Smart Platform.”
“We are thrilled to be joining Ocado Group. Over the last 20 months, we’ve been impressed with Ocado Group’s disruptive products, pioneering technology, visionary leadership and talented people,” said Myrmex CEO George Katiniotis. “I am proud to see our intellectual property and brilliant engineering team recognised by the global leader in online grocery and am excited about the journey ahead of us.”