RBR50 company Fetch Robotics, a San Jose, Calif.-based maker of autonomous mobile robots for warehousing and intralogistics, has raised $25 million in Series B funding. This brings Fetch’s total funding to date to $48 million.
The latest round was led by Sway Ventures, while existing investors O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures, Shasta Ventures and SB Group US (“Softbank”) contributed additional funding. Softbank was the lead investor of Fetch’s June 17, 2015 Series A round that raised $20 million.
Fetch CEO Melonee Wise, who delivered the closing keynote at RoboBusiness 2017, said the funding will be used to grow the company’s sales team and expand its “significant lead and foothold” in fleet management software via its FetchCore platform.
Fetch currently has a handful of customers in Japan, and DHL is the company’s main customer in Europe. International expansion “is not a trivial matter,” Wise said. To meet increasing demand from international customers, Wise said Fetch “will be working through the distribution channel with local sales support.”
“The warehouse and logistics automation market is estimated at over $40 billion today, and is poised to double over the next five years,” said Brian Nugent, founding general partner at Sway Ventures, who will be added to Fetch’s board of directors. “Our investment in Fetch complements and extends our portfolio of exceptional leaders who are transforming the global supply chain.”
Wise said the new funding will also help Fetch expand the capabilities of its FetchCore platform, which the company describes as “cloud-based fleet management software that allows you to quickly set up and deploy your robots.”
The software can build maps of a robot’s warehouse environment, modify tasks and schedules as workflows change and, of course, monitor robot fleets in real time.
However, Wise said FetchCore is “much more than fleet management.” Fetch has been expanding its capabilities to provide data visualization to customers. Wise mentioned Fetch’s RFID platform that helps customers with inventory checks and the ability to track traffic flows within a warehouse as some basic examples.
“We’re building a toolkit for data visualization within the platform,” Wise said. “Many successful businesses want to be data-driven, so we’re expanding the data available to our customers to improve their business efficiency.”
In the not-too-distant future, Wise envisions a FetchCore marketplace where users will share applications for the software.
“Fetch is trying to provide not only the hardware platform, but also the software platform that allows you to manage all the configurations of our platform — whether built by us or an integrator,” she said.
Wise said to expect new capabilities from Fetch’s robots in the spring of 2018. We will have to wait and see what those are, of course, but Fetch is building robots for movement of goods, piece picking, machine tending, kitting and more.
Wise said at RoboBusiness that “Fetch is driving toward lights-out operations in warehouses.” With Wise at the helm, it seems investors are confident Fetch will get there.