As global package volume continues to rise, companies are looking for innovative ways to increase efficiency. Boxbot, which provides vertical automation for sorting and storing packages for last-mile carriers, today announced a Series A round of $12 million.
The company said it will use the funding, which brings its total raised to $29.5 million, to accelerate its mission of “enabling carriers to provide more efficient delivery experiences and bolster the team’s engineering and business operations.”
“Carriers have expanded their network capacities aggressively during the hypergrowth phase of e-commerce preceding and throughout COVID,” said Austin Oehlerking, founder and CEO of Boxbot. “The next phase will be about using automation to enable volume growth through higher productivity, especially as the lasting impact of labor shortages and inflation are acutely felt.”
Alameda Calif.-based Boxbot stated in a release that its proprietary hardware and software make package conveyors three-dimensional. The company said its modular system can store, sort, and sequence size-agnostic, high-throughput payloads with a minimal physical footprint.
Boxbot claimed that it can reduce the costs of last-mile delivery by enabling faster, more intelligent, and denser routing of packages at the warehouse.
Boxbot works to improve last-mile delivery
More than 159 billion parcels were shipped in 2021, up 21% from 2020, reported Pitney Bowes. It said that figure is likely to reach 205 billion parcels in 2024. Consumers are demanding better service levels while still expecting free delivery, reinforcing the need for core productivity improvements, said Boxbot.
More than 90% of consumers view two- or three-day delivery as the standard, and 30% expect same-day delivery, according to McKinsey & Co. However, only 20% of consumers are willing to pay more for faster shipping when free delivery options are available, it found.
Boxbot said its team, which as expertise in factory automation, robotics, and logistics, realized that no company addressed these core challenges with a single product. The company said its system can maximize storage density by dynamically adapting the space required for each payload in real time.
It added that it designed the system for flexibility and to be easily installed in new or existing facilities.
Last-mile delivery continues to be the most operationally complex and resource-intensive component of parcel logistics, Boxbot noted. It said its warehouse automation “unlocks transformative applications” including wave-based vehicle dispatch, real-time route-density optimization, merge in transit that reduces last-mile stop count, consumer pick up and drop off, and bonded storage.
A design example of Boxbot's package-handling system. Source: Boxbot
Playground Global leads round
Playground Global led Boxbot's Series A investment. Maersk Growth, Toyota Ventures, Pear Ventures, and Artiman Ventures also participated in the round.
Richard Peretz, former chief financial officer of UPS and a venture partner at Playground Global, will join the company’s board of directors.
“Boxbot is modernizing conveyor belts for smarter dispatch,” he said. “I’ve seen firsthand that there is a massive opportunity to shift manual processes to machine-enabled smart and efficient solutions leveraging software and hardware. Boxbot’s one-stop solution is a versatile and integrated system that works across a variety of areas in the supply chain.”
Founded in 2015, Playground Global is a venture capital firm that invests in early-stage technology companies. The Palo Alto, Calif.-based company said it supports innovators in areas including automation, infrastructure, engineered biology, and decarbonization — all underpinned by the next generation of compute.
Maersk Growth is the venture arm of A.P. Moller–Maersk with the stated mission to digitize, democratize, and decarbonise supply chains. It said it support its portfolio companies' strategic potential and generate value for A.P. Moller-Maersk by leveraging our core capabilities – our 'ABCDE' or assets, brand, customers, data, and expertise.
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