Proceeds will be used to accelerate growth and drive international expansion in core packaging and manufacturing markets
A start up company based in the US, Soft Robotics, Inc., an innovative robotics pioneer has raised $23 million in an oversubscribed Series B funding round. The round is co-led by Calibrate Ventures and Material Impact and includes additional existing investors Honeywell, Hyperplane, Scale, Tekfen Ventures, and Yamaha. With this round Soft Robotics also adds FANUC Corp., the world’s largest industrial robot manufacturer, as a new investor.
Soft Robotics previously announced a strategic partnership with FANUC to integrate Soft Robotics’ mGrip adaptable gripper system with any FANUC robot through the deployment of a new controller. The combined product was introduced at IREX in Tokyo, Japan in December 2019.
Addressing the most challenging applications from primary and secondary food packaging to unstructured bin picking, Soft Robotics’ proprietary grasping technology, machine vision, and software solutions enable automation solutions for large and meaningful industries such as food and beverage, consumer goods and cosmetics manufacturing, e-commerce supply chains, and more.
In addition to bringing proven solutions in food packaging and consumer goods manufacturing, Soft Robotics is working with e-commerce, logistics, and retail customers to address the high cost of online returns logistics. With the technology’s unique ability to handle the most unstructured and delicate items, Soft Robotics can now help automate reverse logistics: one of the costliest links in the online supply chain owing to high variation and high-value items such as apparel.
Post-holiday product returns are shining a light on the challenge of reverse logistics. According to a recent report, fifteen-thirty percent of all online orders are returned. In addition, processing a return requires twenty percent more space and two times the labor as sending out a package. UPS alone recently processed nearly two million returns on a single day. According to some sources, holiday returns could add up to as much as $90 to $95 billion worth of merchandise this year.
With its patented and proven technology and unique ability to handle the most unstructured and delicate items, Soft Robotics is bringing automation to industries in dire need of such solutions due to the global shortage of qualified workers. For the past two years the number of job openings has exceeded the number of unemployed persons according to the U.S. Labor Department.
“We are thrilled to continue to support Soft Robotics in its quest to transform workforce automation and to be playing a part in its future,” said Kevin Dunlap, Co-Founder of Calibrate Ventures. “Through its precise, reliable and easy-to-use technology, Soft Robotics is at the vanguard of the advanced automation space and is well positioned to become the standard for gripper solutions globally.”