French startup Exotec has raised a $ 90 million Series C round led by 83North, with existing investors Iris Capital and Breega participating as well. Other existing investors include 360 Capital. The company has been working on semi-automated warehouses for e-commerce customers.
The system is based on small robots called Skypods. They walk on the floor and climb up and down the racks to pick up standardized baskets of products.
The company also provides logistics software to coordinate all those robots in the warehouse. As you scale, you can add more robots and more racks without any downtime.
It won’t replace humans at all because you always have to take goods out of the bin and pack things. But human operators can stay on a workstation while robots take care of all the roaming.
You can use a workstation to pick up goods but also to refill the drums. The idea is that you will never enter the Exotec area. It’s a robotic-only zone.
In addition to productivity gains, you can also increase your storage capacity by switching to Exotec thanks to high racks and tight storage.
The company now has teams in Atlanta and Tokyo – it plans to produce 4,000 robots a year by 2021. Everything is manufactured in Lille, France in a 6,000-square-meter plant. The company currently has fourteen systems running worldwide. Customers include Carrefour, Leclerc, Cdiscount and Fast Retailing (Uniqlo).
Exotec has raised it before $ 17.7 million in 2018 and $ 3.8 million (3.3 million euros) in 2016.