WALTHAM, Mass.—Vecna Robotics, which provides mobile robots and workflow orchestration, today announced the appointment of Craig Malloy to chief executive officer. Malloy will focus on the company's organizational and operational needs. Founder Daniel Theobald will resume his role as chief innovation officer, and he will continue to serve as executive chairman of Vecna's board.
“Craig has an impressive track record in scaling businesses across the globe, and his leadership will be integral to Vecna Robotics' next stage of growth,” stated Theobald.
The global market for mobile robots will grow from $4.2 billion in 2020 to $8 billion in 2026, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11.2%, estimates 360 Research Reports. Vecna Robotics said it helps distribution, warehousing, and manufacturing organizations streamline their materials handling and logistics operations.
The company added that its proprietary Pivotal orchestration engine can integrate with warehouse management systems to maximize throughput, operational efficiency, and human-robot collaboration. Vecna said its autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) are backed with 24/7, U.S.-based live support and proactive monitoring for uptime of more than 99%.
“What excites me the most about this role is the relationship between hardware and software in the robotics space,” Malloy told Robotics 24/7. “What makes Vecna Robotics’ solution special is Pivotal, a software platform that allows robots to work collaboratively with humans and robots from other vendors. As the market matures, we anticipate that the emphasis will be less on robots and more on the enabling technology that exponentially increases automation’s efficacy.”
Malloy brings executive experience
Malloy has founded, grown, and led global technology companies in venture capital, publicly traded, and private equity environments, including Lifesize, Bloomfire, and ViaVideo.
“I’ve spent 25 years building talented engineering teams to work on very complex hardware devices and connecting those to cloud services to meet mission-critical needs,” he said. “There are many similarities between the startups I’ve led and Vecna Robotics and the market needs each company solves.”
Before entering the corporate world, Malloy served as a lieutenant, surface warfare officer, and nuclear weapons officer in the U.S. Navy. He has a bachelor’s degree from the U.S. Naval Academy and an MBA from the University of California, Los Angeles, Anderson School of Management. Malloy noted that Vecna's background with the Battleground Extraction-Assist Robot (BEAR) and his military experience can inform their work on logistics automation.
“Right now, Vecna Robotics is hyper-focused on developing products that create flexibility and resilience for supply chain organizations,” he said. “Vecna Robotics’ early work with organizations like the Defense Logistics Agency helped define the products we offer today. It gave the company a chance to test, gain feedback, and refine the early iterations of our work with some of the toughest requirements around. That said, our focus has shifted to providing solutions to the material handling industry as a whole, especially at a time when it can impact civilian lives the most.”
Theobald, who is also a co-founder of MassRobotics, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping grow the Massachusetts robotics cluster, has helped develop Vecna's technologies and lead the company to its current growth stage.
“Daniel is unequivocally one of the worlds’ foremost roboticists and automation experts,” said Trevor Zimmerman, co-founder and managing partner of Blackhorn Ventures, lead investor for Vecna Robotics’ Series B fundraising round. “At his request, we ran a thoughtful process to find a similarly exceptional CEO to lead Vecna Robotics through the next phases of growth.”
“We’re delighted to have found that leader,” he added. “Craig and Daniel are already proving to be a formidable combination, driving value for our customers and shareholders.”
“My primary focus will be to ensure we have the right organizational, operational, and strategic business initiatives in place to help us scale our company,” said Malloy. “This will enable Daniel to keep the innovation engine running that puts Vecna Robotics at the forefront of warehouse automation.”
Vecna Robotics marks progress
Vecna Robotics noted that the CEO appointment comes after a momentous year. In March, the company was named to Fast Company’s prestigious list of the World’s Most Innovative Companies for 2021, ranking fourth in the logistics category.
In addition, Vecna Robotics recently partnered with MassRobotics and other organizations to publish the world’s first AMR interoperability standards, which enable robots from different vendors to “speak” the same language and cooperate. In 2021, the company reported that its customer base has more than doubled in the past six months.
“It’s an incredibly exciting time to serve the robotics and automation market,” said Malloy. “Now more than ever, materials handling companies require solutions that deliver greater flexibility and resilience to survive and compete in a rapidly changing global market.”
What are the biggest challenges facing that market? “No two businesses are the same,” Malloy replied. “Customers face various challenges, including labor shortages, increased consumer demand, supply chain disruptions, safety hazards, bottlenecks inside facilities, and more.”
“Vecna Robotics solves these challenges in a few ways,” he added. “First, Vecna Robotics offers high-capacity AMRs that work side by side with human employees to automate and streamline operations. Second, we also deliver flexible pricing in the form of RaaS [robotics as a service], enabling customers to get started quickly with as little upfront cost as possible and then scale based on demand.”
“Pivotal is also a real differentiator,” Malloy said. “Pivotal looks at warehouses and distribution centers as a whole, unifying humans, robots, and equipment to ensure the right support is in the right place at the right time. We see huge improvements in safety and throughput with Pivotal.”
Malloy reflects on goals
“Our team is determined to learn faster and innovate more quickly than anyone else,” Malloy said. “We leverage advanced data and performance metrics to make our technology more intelligent, adapt to unique customer needs, and deliver performance no other automation company can claim. And we do it at all at a speed that keeps up with customer demands while adhering to the highest level of safety.”
“I have been building technology companies for a long time, and I couldn’t be more impressed with the technology, talent, customer portfolio, and culture of innovation that Daniel and his team have built,” he added. “As Vecna Robotics continues to mature and grow as a company, my goal is to scale the organization and create a sustainable business model that propels our company to the next level.”
About the Author
Eugene Demaitre is editorial director of Robotics 24/7. Prior to joining Peerless Media, he was a senior editor at Robotics Business Review and The Robot Report. Demaitre has also worked for BNA (now part of Bloomberg), Computerworld, and TechTarget. He has participated in numerous robotics-related webinars, podcasts, and events worldwide.
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