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Shopify acquires warehouse robot start-up to augment fulfilment offering

Shopify

Shopify is acquiring a start-up specialising in warehouse robot technology, allowing it to further develop its fulfilment offering.

The $450 million transaction of 6 River Systems will give Shopify new hardware and software technologies as well as access to in-house expertise.

The start-up offers a collaborative robot called Chuck, which can guide workers around warehouses via the most efficient routes and assist with tasks such as picking and transporting. The robot includes sensors to help it automatically navigate common obstacles.

The company expects to generate annual billings of approximately $30 million in 2020.

Shopify said the acquisition was expected to close by the end of the year.

Tobi Lütke, CEO of Shopify, said: “Shopify is taking on fulfillment the same way we’ve approached other commerce challenges, by bringing together the best technology to help everyone compete.

“With 6 River Systems, we will bring technology and operational efficiencies to companies of all sizes around the world.”

Jerome Dubois, co-CEO and co-founder of 6 River Systems, said: “By joining Shopify, we’re changing the game of fulfillment. Together, we will help thousands of businesses improve their fulfillment operations, with an easy-to-learn solution that can more than double productivity and improve accuracy.”

Shopify introduced its Shopify Fulfillment Network in June, billed as an end-to-end service taking care of everything from the customer completing a purchase to the delivery.

The company said alongside a number of fulfilment centres the service would take advantage of its smart inventory allocation technology, allowing it to predict the closest fulfilment centres and optimal inventory qualities for each location.

The move to acquire a robotics company is a sign that Shopify is committed to offering a market-leading fulfilment service as it delivers on its mission to offer its customers “Amazon-like” capabilities.