Geek Plus, robotics venture in Beijing, claims that it has raised $150 million to develop automatic robots for warehouses and similar areas. It is planning to invest in sales, product development, and customer service.
According to Geek Plus, this is the biggest-ever investment round for a logistics robotics venture. Truly, PitchBook claims that earlier largest-ever round was only over $25 million for Locus Robotics in Boston.
Series B, the round, was managed by Warburg Pincus, along with the involvement of other stockholders such as Vertex Ventures and Volcanics Venture. Till now, the company has not disclosed its valuation. In 2017, Warburg Pincus directed the venture’s earlier round of $60 million and overall, after being discovered in 2015, Geek Plus has raised about $217 million.
Till now, Geek Plus claims that it has distributed over 5000 robots throughout almost 100 robotics warehouse schemes in Hong Kong, China, Japan, Australia, Taiwan, United States, Singapore, and Europe. In Asia, present users comprise of VIP.com and Alibaba’s Tmall.
“The investment by Warburg Pincus and other shareholders fully demonstrate their recognition of Geek Plus’s development and their confidence in Geek Plus’s future prospects,” Yong Zheng, founder, and CEO of the venture said in an interview. “We will continue to focus on empowering various industries through AI & Robotics technologies. This year, we expect to grow our business by more than five times…We will continue to be customer-centric, and create values for customers through a seamless integration of AI & Robotics technologies and customers’ supply chain needs.”
There are many more firms that have been investigating logistics robotics. They act as possible partners, competitors, or even purchasers, to Geek Plus. For instance, in 2012, Amazon purchased robotics venture Kiva for $775 million to develop robots for its warehouse.
For the time being, Fetch and InVia, are two firms busy developing technology to sell to third parties. As a general estimate, robots wider marketplace is worth $10 billion. Geek Plus has been developing products for various applications such as movement and sorting systems, “cargo-to-man” picking systems, and unmanned forklifts.
“Since our first investment in Geek+ last year, we have been very impressed with Geek+’s rapid growth, especially in business expansion and internationalization,” Jericho Zhang, executive director of Warburg Pincus, claimed in an interview. “Technology is revolutionizing supply chain. Geek+ is one of the leading technology companies that is able to combine robotics, big data, AI and other cutting-edge technologies to solve the pain points of the traditional supply chain. As it accumulates more data, and continues to optimize algorithms and expand into other industries, we are confident that Geek+ will continue to lead the revolution and innovation in the space.”
Overall, robotics has observed other large investment rounds in the previous year. In October, BrightMachines, with the main focus on development, raised $179 million. In May 2018, the largest-ever funding round for any robotics venture of $820 million for Ubtech, an educational and a consumer robotic venture in China.