PALO ALTO, California — Gatik, a Palo Alto-based startup deploying autonomous vehicles for business to business (B2B) short-haul logistics, launched last week with Walmart as a partner.
“We are a strong believer in autonomous vehicle technology, and we look forward to learning more about how Gatik’s innovation can benefit our customers in the coming months,” said Tom Ward, Senior Vice President of Digital Operations at Walmart.
Last year, the company raised a $4.5 million seed round led by Innovation Endeavors that has led to the development of Gatik’s technology and secured launches of additional commercial services this year. Additional investors of the company’s seed round included Trucks Venture Capital; Dynamo Venture Capital; Fontinalis Partners; and AngelPad.
In an increasingly on-demand economy, urban logistics have become the most expensive part of a business’ supply chain. Gatik’s light commercial trucks and vans bring level 4 autonomy for B2B short-haul logistics, including third-party logistics companies, and distributors of consumer goods, foods and beverages, medical and pharmaceutical supplies, and auto parts.
“The impact of Gatik’s technology extends far beyond the ideas around ‘driverless’ that people usually associate with autonomous vehicle technologies — it will embed efficiency and intelligence into all parts of the delivery experience,” said Dror Berman, Founding Partner at Innovation Endeavors and a Gatik board member. “Considering that the delivery job market has grown over 200% since 2015, there’s a huge demand for smart, scalable delivery solutions. Gatik will allow companies to change the way they think about urban logistics, while improving and integrating delivery experiences within the fabric of neighborhoods.”
“We are focused on deploying autonomous commercial service at scale to address the costly, underserved middle-mile delivery for businesses, like Walmart, the largest retailer in the world,” said Gautam Narang, CEO and co-founder of Gatik. “Our investors represent the best in technology, autonomy, logistics, and supply chain, and our last funding round has allowed us to quickly grow and be prepared to deploy with additional customers in the coming months.”
Gatik sees opportunity in ‘middle mile’ logistics
Gatik aims to cut operation costs up to 50 percent for businesses while improving safety, increasing efficiency, and reducing road congestion and emissions.
“There is a huge gap between autonomous Class 8 big rig trucks, which can only operate on highways, and smaller automated vehicles such as sidewalk robots and Nuro vehicles, which are restricted by operation speed, capacity, distance, and the curb. Gatik fills the critical ‘middle mile’ part of logistics, which is only becoming more valuable as a layer in the $800B logistics ecosystem,” said Reilly Brennan, Founding General Partner at Trucks Venture Capital. “We’re inspired by Gatik’s vision and expertise to solve the untapped market of urban short-haul delivery logistics.”
Both brothers and co-founders, Gautam Narang and Arjun Narang (CTO) have been working together in the field of robotics, AI and machine learning for 10+ years, also previously working with Apeksha Kumavat, Gatik’s third co-founder, to develop autonomous outdoor security robots. Together, the trio of co-founders bring expertise from Carnegie Mellon, Ford, and Honda’s self-driving research units; and bring more than a decade of experience, deep knowledge of autonomous systems, and award-winning innovations including the DARPA Challenges and the Google X Prize for moon rover technology.
“Our team is made up of the very best minds from academia and industry,” said Apeksha Kumavat, Chief Engineer and co-founder of Gatik. “Collectively, we have made critical contributions and technological breakthroughs in robotics and machine learning that has enabled us to build and launch an autonomous service that is filling a gap in the market where the vehicles are on the road (not on the sidewalk), operating on city roads, and traveling longer distances (typically up to 100 miles), and with a much higher payload.”