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Boots, DHL warehouse robotics supplier wins $40 million in investment

A warehouse robotics company which counts DHL and Boots amongst its customers has netted $40 million in its latest funding round.

The funding round, led by funds Zebra Ventures and Scale Venture Partners, brings Locus Robotics’ total funding to over $105 million.

Locus will use the money to grow its research and development capabilities. It will also expand into new markets, including launching a new EU headquarters.

The company’s technology allows robots to work alongside human employees to improve fulfilment efficiency in warehouses.

Rick Faulk, CEO of Locus Robotics, said: “The new funding allows Locus to accelerate expansion into global markets, enabling us to strengthen our support of retail, industrial, healthcare, and 3PL businesses around the world as they navigate through the COVID-19 pandemic, ensuring that they come out stronger on the other side.”

Tony Palcheck, senior director, Zebra Ventures, said: “Automation has proven to be a critical solution for retail and third-party logistics businesses during this challenging time. As the retail industry continues to shift to ecommerce, Locus Robotics’ warehouse automation will help businesses meet the demands of this ‘new normal,’ ensuring that customers can increase operational efficiency to meet requirements for fast, accurate delivery.”

Rick MacDonald, president of retail for DHL Supply Chain North America, said: “DHL’s commitment to bringing scalable and proven productivity-enhancing technology for our customers has been a key factor behind our choice of Locus as a part of our technology strategy.

“Locus’s advanced AMR solution has allowed DHL and our customers to realise consistent improvements in productivity, speed, and flexibility that will help us further grow and seamlessly scale to meet the explosion of online ordering as we all adapt to the post-pandemic economy.”

Retailers such as Amazon, ASOS and Next have all seen hits to warehouse operations during the COVID-19 pandemic due to the potential dangers to employees working in close proximity.

It is likely that more retailers will transition to using robotics to minimise their staff costs and ensure resilience during re-emergences of the virus.

For example, Superdry revealed recently it is using robots to pick orders in its warehouses in the UK and continental Europe in a major change to its mostly manual operations. Companies such as Zalando are already making major use of the technology.

Robotics and automation software companies are seeing an influx of investment amidst the impact of COVID-19.  SVT Robotics, which offers software to simplify deployment of industrial robotics, recently netted $3.5 million.

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