Nimble Robotics, an e-commerce warehouse automation company, announced a $50 million Series A financing round led by DNS Capital and GSR Ventures with participation from Accel and Reinvent Capital. Nimble plans to use the funds to deploy more robots to its customers and expedite hiring for further product and technology development.
Nimble also announced the appointment of two new board members: Fei-Fei Li, a Sequoia professor of computer science at Stanford University, and Sebastian Thrun, founder of Waymo and co-founder of Udacity. Nimble’s engineering team comes from leading institutions and technology companies, including Stanford, MIT, Ohio State, Cornell, Carnegie Mellon, Berkeley, NASA, SpaceX, Tesla, Boston Dynamics and Google X.
“We want to build the future of fulfillment. We want to reimagine everything from the inside of the warehouse to your front door, to get you what you want, when you want it, in a faster, cheaper, more environmentally friendly way than Amazon can,” said Simon Kalouche, the CEO of Nimble, in an interview with Ohio State University.
Kalouche explained that Nimble supplies its customers with robots that can intelligently pick, pack and handle products within a fulfillment center, handling goods from apparel and electronics, to grocery items. The company currently has robots within several Fortune 500 fulfillment centers, picking over 100,000 items per day.
Nimble’s robots develop new skills from observing actions performed by another agent, known as deep imitation learning. This enables its robots to integrate quickly with new customer processes.
“Nimble is a plug and play solution and has repeatedly demonstrated that its robot systems can be integrated and picking in production on day one without changing a single line of code in the warehouse management system. This advantage allows Nimble to scale and expand its footprint faster than other competitors,” Michael Pucker, chairman and CEO of DNS Capital, said in the release.
The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated e-commerce sales in 2020, with nearly 10 years of growth in the span of a few months, according to McKinsey & Co. This has led to a scarcity of reliable warehouse workers, roles that Nimble’s robots can facilitate.
“We’ve assembled an all-star team of engineers to build the future of autonomous on-demand fulfillment to solve this problem. Our next-gen robotics technology will allow retailers and grocers of all sizes to have the fastest and most affordable fulfillment,” said Kalouche.