Supply chains and manufacturers looking for automation to improve efficiency are getting more global options. Reliance Retail Ventures Ltd. has acquired a 54% stake in Addverb Technologies Pvt., investing $132 million (U.S.) in the robotics provider. Noida, India-based Addverb said it plans to use the funding to expand manufacturing and its presence in Europe, Australia, and the U.S.
Sangeet Kumar, co-founder and CEO of Addverb, said the company will remain independent and will build “the world's largest” robot factory to expand its production from 10,000 to 50,000 units annually.
Founded in 2016, Addverb's technologies include machine learning, deep learning, computer vision, and the Internet of Things (IoT). The company began with a pallet shuttle for dense racking storage.
Addverb's product line now includes the Dynamo autonomous mobile robot (AMR), the Quadron carton shuttle, the Cruiser pallet shuttle, the Zippy sorting AMR, and the Decimator disinfection system.
Its portfolio also includes the Rapido pick-to-light and Khushi voice-directed picking technologies, as well as the Multi-Pro automated storage and retrieval system (ASRS) and software for warehouse management, integration, and customization.
Addverb, which employs about 550 engineers, launched the Veloce mobile picking robot in last month.
Reliance expands partnership
Addverb had previously raised $11 million in Series A funding, and the Reliance investment brings its total funding to date to about $143 million and valuation to $270 million. The company said it expects to double its revenue, bringing the overseas percentage to 50%.
Reliance Retail is a unit of Reliance Industries Ltd., whose chairman is Mukesh Ambani, reportedly the richest man in Asia. The Mumbai, India-based conglomerate's businesses include e-commerce, telecommunications, and energy.
“Reliance was already a client. We had co-created and delivered highly automated warehouses for their Jio-Mart grocery business,” stated Kumar. “This strategic partnership will help us leverage 5G, battery tech through new energy initiatives, [and] advances in material sciences—carbon fiber— to deliver more advanced and affordable robots.”
Addverb also supports Reliance units such as its oil refineries and solar plants, fashion retailer Ajio, and online pharmacy Netmeds.
Addverb plans global acceleration
Addverb has subsidiaries in Singapore, the Netherlands, and Australia and said it has more than 100 customers. The company said it has more than 100 customers, including Amazon (a Reliance rival), Coca-Cola, Flipkart, and Unilever.
In addition to expanding production in India, Addverb said it plans to expand innovation laboratories and sales in new markets worldwide.
“With this round of funding, we are planning to deploy our robots across hospitals and airports,” Kumar said. “In the next five to six years, we want to be a billion-dollar company in revenue. We do everything in India— design, manufacture, and deliver across the world.”
India's robotics market grows
Although India doesn't have a high robotics density, or number of robots per 10,000 workers, compared with China or Japan, it has been growing steadily. In 2019, sales grew 15%, driven largely by the automotive industry, according to the International Federation of Robotics (IFR).
The number of industrial robots in India could expand from 4,564 units in 2018 and experience a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13.3% between 2018 and 2025, reported Industry Analytics Research Consulting (ARC).
Similarly, Kenneth Research predicted a CAGR of 14.41%, from 5,000 units in 2019 to 11,750 units by 2025.
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