SVT Robotics Inc. yesterday announced the close of its $25 million Series A funding round. The Norfolk, Va.-based startup has developed its SOFTBOT platform to accelerate and simplify the integration and deployment of robots. SVT claimed that companies can use its software to integrate any enterprise system with automation for any task, without custom code, in days or weeks instead of months or years.
Even with the global robotics market growing at an annual rate of 26%, automation deployments have not been fast enough for most companies to adapt to supply chain and staffing challenges they have experienced over the past 18 months, said the company.
“The reason is the lack of interoperability,” said A.K. Schultz, co-founder and CEO of SVT Robotics. “The demand for industrial automation is even higher, but industry growth has been limited by capacity to execute.”
“Integrations are typically all custom-coded, meaning long development cycles,” he said. “It’s expensive, and companies wait as much as a year or more for new automation to go live. Solving that problem with the SOFTBOT Platform empowers the market to grow at its full potential.”
SVT deployments grow rapidly
Founded in 2018, SVT Robotics has experienced tremendous growth, with deployments increasing 375% from the fourth quarter of 2020 to July of this year. Companies are using the SOFTBOT platform to connect with warehouse management systems (WMSes) and integrate robotic picking, among other applications.
“When we were looking at founding this company, we found that it's the highest-tech industry with the most archaic stack,” Schultz told Robotics 24/7. “We decided to make this like USB or device drivers for the industry. Thinking back to peripherals for computers—each printer needed a separate floppy to operate. Nothing communicates directly with each other in USB, and we provide the necessary abstraction.”
“We create an abstratction language that takes integration from 12 to 18 months to 12 to 18 weeks,” he said. “There's not enough people to maintain integrations, and now we have composite applications that involve mobile robots operating in the same footprint using pick-to-light technology, and we Velcroed them together.”
SVT said it will use the new funding to further advance its development of multirobot orchestration technologies in response to the surge in demand for automation and the need for interoperability among robots from from disparate suppliers.
The company has recently received numerous awards recognizing its SOFTBOT platform, which enables companies to rapidly connect and deploy fully integrated automation solutions that work in concert with each other.
Investors support interoperability solution
Tiger Global led SVT Robotics' Series A round, with participation from Prologis Ventures.
“With no ‘plug-and-play' integration solution for industrial robotics, warehouses and manufacturers have been prevented from quickly deploying the automation they need to keep pace with the dramatic shifts in labor dynamics we’ve seen over the past year,” said Griffin Schroeder, partner at Tiger Global. “With its SOFTBOT Platform, SVT Robotics is solving this crucial interoperability problem. We believe the company is well-positioned to lead in the rapid and flexible deployment of automation, and we’re excited to partner with them as they grow.”
Tiger Global focuses on private and public companies in the Internet, software, and financial technology sectors. Since 2001, Tiger Global has invested in hundreds of startups in more than 30 countries, including, ranging from Series A to pre-IPO.
“With the seismic shifts we’ve seen in supply chain demands, warehouse operators want to adapt, but they need a way to quickly deploy fully integrated automation,” said William O’Donnell, managing director of Prologis Ventures. “SVT’s platform addresses this problem, giving these companies the tools they need to avert the next crisis. We’re focused on investing in technologies that help make the world of logistics faster, smarter, and more efficient, which includes SVT Robotics.”
Prologis Ventures invests in Series A through growth-stage companies focused on innovating across the logistics sector. It makes strategic investments in its customers' most critical pain points in supply chain and transportation, digital buildings and infrastructure, and real estate and construction. Prologis Ventures said it shares its global network and industry expertise with partners to accelerate growth, navigate challenges, and bring innovative systems to market.