A company that makes robotic “exosuits” allowing workers to lift heavy loads for logistics and manufacturing tasks went public today, providing Sarcos Technology and Robotics Corp. with $260 million in backing to roll out its product by end of 2022.
Salt Lake City, Utah-based Sarcos had first announced the move two weeks ago when it unveiled plans to merge with Rotor Acquisition Corp., a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC). Being acquired by a SPAC allows startups to begin selling stock in the company much faster than the traditional route of filing for an initial public offering (IPO).
The strategy of merging with SPACs has gained popularity in the logistics sector in recent months, most recently with an announcement by the digital freight brokerage Transfix last week that it had raised $405 million and would become a publicly traded company through a combination with G Squared Ascend I Inc. Other examples in 2021 have included the warehouse robotics and automation provider Berkshire Grey Inc., autonomous trucking platform provider Embark Trucks Inc., hydrogen fuel cell-powered truck builder Hyzon Motors Inc.
For Sarcos, which was previously a subsidiary of Raytheon Corp., the move has allowed it to raised enough capital to avoid further funding rounds while still meeting its goal of launching commercial units at the end of 2022, the company said. “Having our securities listed on the Nasdaq is a crucial step for Sarcos,” Ben Wolff, chairman and CEO of Sarcos, said in a release. “As a public company, we now have the resources we need to bring our award-winning Guardian XO industrial exoskeleton and Guardian XT industrial robotic avatar system to market, giving companies in the U.S. and abroad a unique solution to the critical shortage of workers who are able to conduct physically demanding tasks.”
In Sarcos’ vision, its technology could help logistics and warehousing companies by bridging the gap between manual and assisted lifting activities.
Specifically, the firm says that most warehouses handle small and medium-sized packages with material handling equipment such as lift trucks, tugs, sorters, pick arms, conveyors, autonomous mobile robots (AMR), and humans. But Sarcos says that approach ignores the need to manage bulky, less-than-pallet-load, and non-conveyable items, such as refrigerators, furniture, and basketball backboards.
Most DCs handle the challenge by assigning teams of workers to lift those heavy goods, raising the risk of workplace injuries and fulfillment delays, Sarcos says. Instead, the firm says its products combine the judgment and physical flexibility of human warehouse workers with the power of robotics that enables them to lift goods of up to 200 pounds.