French warehouse robotics startup Exotec says it will hire 500 new R&D engineers by 2025 and launch large-scale deployments in North America, Europe, and Asia for global brands after landing a huge, $335 million venture capital round, the company said today.
The “series d” round was led by Goldman Sachs Asset Management’s Growth Equity business, with follow-on investments from 83North and Dell Technologies Capital. The funding places the firm at a $2 billion valuation and follows previous funding rounds including a $90 million backing in 2020.
With its planned hiring surge, Exotec would double its global headcount by 2023 from its current employment rolls of some 300 people worldwide.
In a statement, the company said it would also accelerate the development of its warehouse automation technology in response to ongoing supply chain disruptions during the pandemic and the negative impact of those trends on everyday, modern life. According to Exotec, its technology can help mitigate challenges such as inventory delays and port congestion, which are only anticipated to increase in frequency and severity in the future.
“Exotec is well-positioned to seize the enormous warehouse automation market opportunity both because of its global presence and strong track record of success with industry-leading retailers and brands,” Christian Resch, managing director in Goldman Sachs’ Growth Equity business, said in a release. “Exotec builds scalable solutions that are an accelerant for change and supports business growth despite market disruptions.”
The massive funding round is the largest seen so far for a mobile robot and warehouse robotics company in the sector, according to Ash Sharma, managing director of market research firm Interact Analysis. It also pushes Exotec’s valuation to a new record for the sector, notching it above other logistics startups that have achieved the “unicorn status” of corporate worth greater than $1 billion, he said.
The firm’s success stems from the ability of its robots to both traverse in three dimensions within warehouse storage racking and also travel autonomously across the warehouse floor to deliver the goods to a packing station, he said. “It is playing in a new technology niche which sees warehouse robots bring individual bins to pickers instead of whole racks,” Sharma said.
Exotec says its enterprise customers include Gap, Geodis, and Decathlon sporting goods, which uses the firm’s Skypod System in multiple DCs. Exotec has also launched a new unit called Skypicker technology, which is an an articulated arm able to move 600 items per hour to support high-volume fulfillment and returns.