Consolidation is continuing among international warehouse automation providers. This week, stow Robotics, a business unit of stow Group, acquired a majority stake in mobile robot company iFollow SAS.
“We are delighted to join forces with stow Robotics, a leader in warehouse automation,” stated Vincent Jacquemart, co-founder and CEO of iFollow.“We firmly believe this is the right partnership to start iFollow’s next phase of long-term growth, with a reliable, global partner.”
“In addition to its commercial traction, technology-driven approach, and its advanced industrial base, we share with stow the same conviction on the importance of technology in warehouse automation and the future of intralogistics,” he added. “It’s a very exciting moment for our team, which is looking forward to shaping the industry even further.”
iFollow commercializing AMRs
Founded in 2017, iFollow has developed autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) to transporting complex loads. The Paris-based company has more than 50 experts in mechanics, electronics, embedded systems, artificial intelligence, and robotics navigation. It said its systems can improve operators' working conditions and optimize logistics flows to improve productivity.
iFollow said its fleet of AMRs and proprietary software suite are designed for a wide range of use-cases, such as collaborative picking and inbound and outbound transport. The company claimed that it is accelerating the commercialization of its AMRs, having already deployed the technology in a wide variety of applications across different industries and building on a promising pipeline.
The acquisition of iFollow is backed by funds managed by Blackstone, stow Group’s majority shareholder. The partnership with iFollow’s management, who remain on board, strengthens and builds on stow Robotics’ clear strategy and leading position in the global warehouse automation market. The companies did not specify the value of the transaction.
The global market for warehouse robotics could experience a compound annual growth rate of 12.09%, expanding from $2.47 billion in 2022 to $4.97 billion by 2028, according to Market Growth Reports. Similarly, Research and Markets predicted a CAGR of 13.2%, from $5.04 billion in 2021 to $11.3 billion by 2027.
Mordor Intelligence was even more bullish, forecasting a CAGR of 15.53% and growth from $9.88 billion in 2021 to $23.09 billion by 2027. The research firms credited the growth of e-commerce, improving robot capabilities, and the value of data that automated systems can collect.
stow Robotics welcomes iFollow team
“We are thrilled to welcome iFollow to stow Robotics and have been impressed by the entire iFollow team,” said Jos De Vuyst, CEO of stow Group. “This is another important milestone for stow Robotics, adding a company that fits perfectly within our portfolio of scalable automation solutions.
“We truly believe this partnership will unlock significant synergies with our Atlas 2D pallet solution, as well as meaningfully accelerate iFollow’s growth through our commercial network,” he said. “iFollow shares in our vision for the future and provides the perfect platform for further AMR-based solutions.”
stow Robotics is the warehouse automation unit of stow Group, a leading supplier of industrial storage systems. Spiere-Helkijn, Belgium-based stow Group has about 1,800 employees across Europe and North America. The company has nine facilities all over Europe and a global commercial organization.
stow Group acquired Raiser Robotics International GmbH and launched stow Robotics in September 2021. The company reorganized its existing automation for pallets and totes, as well as related services and teams. Through this new unit, stow said it is building a platform of scalable and innovative systems. It is continuing to invest in technologies such as iFollow’s robots and software.