Big retailers aim to save millions by optimizing warehouse operations, increasing efficiency with wearables and software or using robots to replace workers altogether.|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).
Please click to enlarge. This graphic is not meant to be exhaustive of startups in the space.
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.
- 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.
|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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