Bratislava-based robotic vision and intelligence maker Photoneo has raised $21 million in a Series B funding round. The capital is aimed at accelerating the development of the company’s 3D sensor technologies and enabling the expansion of its newest business unit, Brightpick, which delivers a fully automated fulfilment solution for warehouses and dark stores. Since its founding in 2013, the startup has raised approximately $33.5 million.
It’s no secret that one sector that’s truly benefited from the global pandemic has been e-commerce. Across the board, we’ve seen startups popping up in every stage of the process, from the sourcing of raw materials, all the way through to getting it to your doorstep. And if there's one central operation in the middle of all of this boom, it's logistics, particularly local logistics, or rather, the fulfilment process.
E-commerce has developed to such a pace that it’s not even e anymore, it’s q-commerce. Personally, I’m placing bets on i-commerce, or instant. But until that moment happens, a reduced labour force, combined with higher labour costs, combined with consumer expectations that rival i-commerce levels have pushed suppliers to the limits.
Sensing this change in the wind, Photoneo has decided to take the plunge into the ultra-competitive sector and apply its almost decade long experience in equipping robots with a precise sense of sight and the necessary intelligence to “understand” what they are seeing, technologies to the warehousing and dark store game.
By combining autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) and an AI-powered picking solution, Photoneo says that its modular and fully automated Brightpick product can be tailored to be used in both micro and macro fulfilment centres; and be far more productive than any human could ever be.
"We combined our unique technologies to develop a first-of-its-kind end-to-end solution for fully automated fulfilment centres," says Photoneo co-founder and CEO Jan Zizka. "The potential of this next-gen warehouse automation technology is immense as it is highly flexible and scalable, maximizing throughput with minimum effort. It helps optimize processes, save space, and increase efficiency by 3 to 5 times compared to manual labour."
I'm only going to guess that Noyes Technologies' robotic warehousing solution isn't end-to-end fully automated? 🤔
“Photoneo’s work and achievements are truly impressive. We believe in the company’s power to enhance logistics and transform the automation of e-commerce processes with its groundbreaking and much-needed solutions," said IPM's Marian Bocek. "Photoneo is already a well-established leader of smart automation solutions powered by original machine vision technology and artificial intelligence and supporting the company at this stage means helping them embrace the future of automation completely and on all fronts."