Big retailers aim to save millions by optimizing warehouse operations, increasing efficiency with wearables and software or using robots to replace workers altogether.

As retailers increasingly merge their online and offline fulfillment processes, warehousing optimization is more important and complex than ever. Amazon has been at the forefront of warehouse automation for the past few years, an effort bolstered by its $775M purchase of warehouse robot maker Kiva in 2012. According to company leadership, the robots reduce warehouse operating expenses by roughly 20%.

Walmart, known for its supply-chain innovation, announced plans to launch stock-checking drones in early 2017, and we saw several warehouse-focused robotics startups, including 6 River Systems and Locus Robotics, raise their first funding rounds in 2016.

But beyond robotics, other software startups and tech-enabled approaches are branching into warehousing too. For example, there’s an “AirBnB for warehouse space” (Flexe, with $20.6M in funding) and several augmented reality smart glasses for warehouse workers (such as GetVu, with $130K in seed funding).

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Please click to enlarge. This graphic is not meant to be exhaustive of startups in the space.

9.26 Warehouse Tech Map New Format

 

For this infographic, we focused on private companies that have a significant use case within the physical warehouse itself. View the full company list with select investors below. The startups in this infographic have raised approximately $900M in aggregate.

Category breakdown:

  • Warehouse & inventory management software - These companies offer software-as-a-service platforms, generally cloud-based, for warehouse management and inventory tracking functions. Temando leads with $50M in funding, and works with Asos, Trademe, Krispy Kreme, and more. UK-based Peoplevox ($6M in funding) pairs its SaaS platform with warehouse-optimization consultants.
  • Warehouse robots - Automated and remotely controlled robots for order picking and inventory management. Seegrid, with $63M in funding, makes automated vision-guided vehicles for companies like BMW, Volvo, Walgreens, 3M, Honeywell, and the USPS.
  • Worker wearables - GetVU, Atheer, and XOEye produce augmented reality smart glasses to aid warehouse workers, and Kinetic makes wearables that attach to workers’ belts to analyze movements and help prevent injuries.
  • Packing - QubeVu uses 3D-dimensioning technology to optimize packaging, and GrabIt offers patented electroadhesion technology that helps improve grasping technology for item sorting, handling, and packing.
  • Indoor asset tracking - These companies offer software, bar code readers, and RFID tags, focusing on improving the tracking of goods and equipment in warehouses.
  • Outsourced warehousing & fulfillment - Startups like Delhivery ($125M in funding) and Ecom Express ($149M in funding) handle fulfillment processes for e-commerce companies that may not have their own warehouse space. These startups manage the warehousing of goods, as well as order shipments.
  • On-demand warehouse space - Flexe ($20.6M in funding) offers an online marketplace connecting retailers that need warehouse space with warehouses that have extra capacity.

 

Warehouse of the Future: Private Company List
Company Category Select Investors
Flexe On-Demand Warehouse Space Redpoint Ventures, Second Avenue Partners
Stitch Labs Warehouse & Inventory Management Software True Ventures, Triangle Peak Partners
PeopleVox Warehouse & Inventory Management Software Index Ventures
SkuVault (Agile Harbor) Warehouse & Inventory Management Software N/A
Ship Hero Warehouse & Inventory Management Software N/A
Fishbowl Inventory Warehouse & Inventory Management Software N/A
TradeGecko Warehouse & Inventory Management Software Jungle Ventures, NSI Ventures
Shipedge Warehouse & Inventory Management Software Undisclosed
LogFire Warehouse & Inventory Management Software Edison Partners
Brightpearl Warehouse & Inventory Management Software Eden Ventures, Notion Capital
Ecomdash Warehouse & Inventory Management Software Gemini Southern
Volo Commerce Warehouse & Inventory Management Software Notion Capital
Temando Warehouse & Inventory Management Software Neopost
SalesWarp Warehouse & Inventory Management Software Camber Creek, Dingman Center Angels
Deposco Warehouse & Inventory Management Software UPS Strategic Enterprise Fund
SKU IQ Warehouse & Inventory Management Software Plug and Play Ventures
Holisol Logistics Outsourced Warehousing & Fulfillment CLSA Capital Partners
Delhivery Outsourced Warehousing & Fulfillment Times Internet, Nexus Venture Partners, Zomato Media
Future Supply Chain Solutions Outsourced Warehousing & Fulfillment SSG Capital Management
ParcelNinja Outsourced Warehousing & Fulfillment C5 Capital
GoJavas Outsourced Warehousing & Fulfillment Snapdeal
ShipBob Outsourced Warehousing & Fulfillment FundersClub, SV Angel
Ecom Express Outsourced Warehousing & Fulfillment Warburg Pincus, Peepul Capital
Selery Fulfillment Outsourced Warehousing & Fulfillment Tech Wildcatters
Grabit Packing Formation 8, Nike, Northern Light Venture Capital
QubeVu (Postea Group) Packing Undisclosed
6 River Systems Warehouse Robots Eclipse Ventures, iRobot Ventures
Aethon Warehouse Robots Draper Triangle Ventures, Pacific Ventures Group, Trident Capital
ArkRobot Warehouse Robots Qualcomm Ventures
Balyo Warehouse Robots Seventure Partners, Masseran Gestion
Clearpath Robotics Warehouse Robots Eclipse Ventures, GE Ventures, iNovia Capital, RRE Ventures
Fetch Robotics Warehouse Robots Shasta Ventures, O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures, Softbank Capital
GreyOrange Robotics Warehouse Robots Blume Ventures
Hstar Technologies Warehouse Robots US Department of Defense, MassVentures
Brain Corporation Warehouse Robots Qualcomm Ventures
IAM Robotics Warehouse Robots Innovation Works
inVia Robotics Warehouse Robots N/A
Locus Robotics Warehouse Robots Great Hill Partners
Magazino Warehouse Robots High-Tech Gruenderfonds
Mobile Industrial Robots Warehouse Robots Niels Jul Jacobsen
RoboCV Warehouse Robots Columbus Nova Technology Partners, I2BF Global Ventures
Seegrid Warehouse Robots Giant Eagle
Atheer Worker Wearables FundersClub, Signatures Capital, Streamlined Ventures
GetVu Worker Wearables LEAP Axlr8r
XOEye Worker Wearables IncWell, Crestlight Venture Productions
Kinetic Worker Wearables Maiden Lane, R/GA Ventures
Sewio Networks Indoor Asset Tracking Y Soft Venture Capital
Scandit Indoor Asset Tracking Ariel Luedi

 

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