The need for logistics personnel is high globally. In Belgium alone, the growing personnel shortage after the Covid crisis poses a severe new threat to supply chains.
Leuven-based logistics robotics company Zeal Robotics has raised an undisclosed amount of funding from Marc Coucke’s Comate Ventures to develop robots that not only ease the physically demanding work of workers but also provide a solution to the need for logistics workers. By using AI and 3D vision, the Belgian startup makes the robots faster, more responsive, and safer.
The robots will be manufactured entirely in Europe. According to the company, the first prototype would be ready in the spring of 2023.
Certainly, the startup is not alone in the robots-on-the-warehouse-floor game. VCs poured more than $17 billion into the sector last year, nearly triple the investment in 2020. While this year has cooled somewhat, upwards of $5 billion has already been pledged to robotics-focused startups. Polish developer of pick-and-place warehouse robots Nomagic brought home $22 million, London’s SLAMcore swept off $16 million, Berlin-based Micropsi raised $30 million in a Series B and London-based BotsAndUs raked in $13 million for its warehouse robots.
As it gears up to transform distribution warehouses with a new generation of autonomous robots, Zeal has also joined the network of one of the country’s largest accelerator, Start it @KBC.
Sven De Craemer, co-founder of Zeal Robotics said: “There are still a lot of efficiency gains to be realised in logistics robots Today, companies use the same robots everywhere. Not only are they obsolete, but they are also standard versions that are not adapted to the environment in which they work. Our advanced robots can move goods completely autonomously without additional internal infrastructure. This allows companies to deploy them immediately and scale them up further where necessary.”
Marc Coucke, co-founder, Comate Ventures added: “We want to join forces with the pioneers and technological innovations of tomorrow. Zeal Robotics is in an interesting niche in the challenging hardware sector and has the potential to grow into an international player.”
Wouter Foulon, CEO of Comate added: “We have experience and expertise in developing hardware. We know that it is a difficult, risky and expensive process. Comate Ventures can offer startups that build hardware a springboard to get to the right product in the most efficient way possible.”