Looks like the idea of robots working with humans (instead of replacing them) is catching on among the VCs. Robotics start-up GreyOrange, which helps e-tailers automate their warehouses and is based out of Singapore and Gurgaon, has secured $30mn in Series B funding from investors including Tiger Global and existing investor Blume Ventures.
The company plans to use this fresh inflow of funds in the all-important R&D, hiring for the executive team as well as engineering workforce and expansion into markets such as Asia Pacific, Middle East and Europe.
In May last year, the company had raised nearly Rs. 60 crore in Series A funding from Blume Ventures and individual investors Alok Rawat, president of FG Wilson FZE and Dileep Nath, co-founder of Kanbay.
The start-up primarily removes operational efficiencies and low productivity in logistics and distribution centers through its industrial robots. The company currently has two product lines Bulter and Sorter, catering to over 40 clients including the likes of Amazon, Flipkart, GoJavas, DTDC and Mahindra.
With Butler, GreyOrange offers an automated storage and goods-to-man order picking system to reduce the time it takes to get orders to homes and inventory to stores, with the flexibility to increase system storage or order fulfilment throughput – on-demand, as-needed.
The Butler system takes care of the complexities of forward and reverse logistics at your fulfilment centre as and when a business grows. Need more storage? Configure and add Mobile Storage Units (MSUs) to your Butler-powered warehouse. Order-to-ship times increasing? Pop additional butlers into your warehouse. Need greater order fulfilment throughput? Add Pick Stations at will.
Sorter on the other hand, helps in reducing the outbound sortation window at your distribution and fulfilment centres. You also get the option to scan your packets with 1D or 2D barcodes. Throw in a Dimensioning and Weighing module to capture your packets’ data. Vendors can add as many arms as you like, on our belt-based conveyors with primary sortation throughputs of 1,500, 3,000 or 6,000 packets per hour.
Founded Akash Gupta and Samay Kohli in 2011, GreyOrange now employs nearly 300 people, a majority of them being engineers across three cities. It claims to be sorting 3 million-plus packets in a day and capturing 90% of India’s industrial automation segment.
GreyOrange competes with companies like Swisslog and Kiva Systems in global markets, bought by internet retailer Amazon for $775 million (Rs 4,692 crore) in March 2012.
Speaking on global terms, VCs invested $341.3 million in robotics startups, up 36 percent from 2013, according to Silicon Valley-based robotics blogger Travis Deyle, who compiles an annual list of robotics funding rounds. A majority of this money goes into the medical segment and industrial automation. We’re sure the pace will go up in 2015 as well.