Locus Robotics, a leader in autonomous mobile robots (AMR) for fulfillment warehouses, this week announced $150 million in Series E funding, led by Tiger Global Management and BOND. The round builds on support from existing investors including Scale Venture Partners and Prologis Ventures, the venture capital arm of Prologis, a global leader in logistics real estate.
“This new round of funding marks an important inflection point for Locus Robotics,” said Rick Faulk, CEO of Locus Robotics. “Warehouses facing ongoing labor shortages and exploding volumes, are looking for flexible, intelligent automation to improve productivity and grow their operations. Locus is uniquely positioned to drive digital transformation in this enormous global market.”
Locus will use the funding to further expand its market opportunities around the globe and support ongoing research and development (R&D) to grow and enhance its award-winning, innovative warehouse technology solution. In a phone interview, Faulk explained the company started in North America and has since expanded into Europe, and now the additional funding will help it expand into Japan and other countries within the Asia Pacific region.
While Faulk says the North American and European markets remain largely untapped and will continue to be a strong focus for the company, some of Locus’s larger users wanted Locus to have reach and resources in additional geographies. “Our customers are basically pulling us there [into new regions] as we expand,” Faulk said.
The funding will help on multiple fronts, including recruiting more research & development and software engineering talent, as well as recruiting more people for customer success and service roles, Faulk said. Another area some of the funding will help with, added Faulk, is for manufacturing more robots, which Locus then offers up to users under a robot-as-a-service (RaaS) model. That takes financial resources on Locus’s part, Faulk explained. “We have to buy our fleet,” he said.
Overall, Locus is positioning this round as a validation for the strong need for mobile robotics as a path to digital transformation among companies that need to find ways to efficiently and quickly fulfill online orders.
“Locus’s innovative mix of proven technology, flexible design, and seamless scalability makes it an ideal choice to lead the digital transformation of the warehouse,” said Griffin Schroeder, Partner at Tiger Global. “Facing rapidly growing ecommerce volumes, rising labor costs, and increasingly demanding customers, warehouse operators are seeking an automation solution that is flexible, scalable, and just works.”
“The Locus solution unlocks substantial productivity gains, while significantly lowering expenses, improving employee morale, and providing customers with unmatched visibility into warehouse operations,” said Jay Simons, a general partner at BOND. “The platform is powerful enough to meet – and exceed – warehouse operators’ needs today, tomorrow, and in the months and years to come.”
In a market of more than 20 billion square feet of warehouse space worldwide, and rising e-commerce volume, Locus helps operators effectively meet the industry’s growing demand, while seamlessly managing today’s often unpredictable volume shifts. Locus currently serves more than 40 customers and 80 warehouses around the world with its industry-leading solution. LocusBots have picked more than 300 million units, including 70 million units during the recent holiday season.
“The logistics industry is facing huge challenges as it struggles to cope with rapid increases in demand, and at the same time severe labor shortages,” said Ash Sharma, Managing Director at Interact Analysis, a market research firm covering the intelligent automation sector. “Warehouses are massively under-penetrated today, but increasingly operators are seeing the huge benefits that warehouse robotics such as the Locus solution can bring. As a result, we expect that over a million warehouse robots will be installed over the next four years and the number of warehouses using them will grow ten-fold.”
Locus’s proven multi-bot solution for warehouse fulfillment incorporates collaborative, autonomous mobile robots that significantly improve productivity and deliver powerful, actionable business intelligence, according to Locus. The company also works closely with industry-leading warehouse software companies to speed up systems integration and deployment.
“As businesses increasingly look for ways to deliver productivity and operational efficiencies into their supply chain, it has become critical that providers deliver on the promise of speed and reliability in their technology deployments,” said John Santagate, VP of Robotics at Körber Supply Chain. “Through our strategic partnership with Locus Robotics, we continue to collaborate and innovate in order to deliver rapid results by driving down the time it takes from decision to use of Locus Robots in the warehouse.”
Locus customers worldwide include CEVA Logistics, DHL, Material Bank, Boots UK, GEODIS, Port Logistics Group, Verst Logistics, Radial, and others, who are doubling or tripling their fulfillment productivity with near-100% accuracy, while saving on operating expenses, and enhancing employee morale and safety.