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Locus Robotics raises $26 million in series C round

Locus Robotics, a Wilmington, Massachusetts-based company that makes autonomous mobile robots for e-commerce warehouses, announced today it has raised $26 million in a Series C round.

Investors included Zebra Ventures, the strategic investment arm of Zebra Technologies, and Scale Venture Partners. The round brings the total amount of money Locus has raised since launching in 2014 to $66 million. The new funds will be used to scale its warehouse robotics system, as well as expand sales and marketing in North America and internationally.

“The continued, rapid growth of the warehouse industry and a tight labor market have placed tremendous pressure on warehouse operators to find a scalable, cost-effective way to meet increasing productivity and efficiency demands,” said Rick Faulk, CEO of Locus Robotics, in a statement. “We have seen a massive uptick in demand for the flexible automation incorporated into Locus’s multi-bot solution, which is uniquely suited to address these challenges.”

Locus provides a “collaborative robotics” solution in which groups of robots help human pickers navigate warehouses and pick products off the shelves. Its customers include DHL, GEODIS, Port Logistics Group, Radial and Verst Logistics.

In addition to Zebra Ventures’ investment, Zebra Technologies is working with Locus to integrate other technologies. Locus recently added an accessory power port to its autonomous mobile robot, the LocusBot, which features a Zebra printer on its robotic platform, and showcased a Zebra wireless handheld scanner.

“LocusBots work collaboratively with your workers,” the company’s website states, “helping them deliver higher throughput and improved accuracy. They move autonomously to where the workers are, minimizing worker walking and removing drudge work.”

Alleviating drudgery and deadline-related pressures are among the top priorities for today’s warehouse crews. As part of its Amazon worker diaries series, the website Medium recently posted a column titled  “The relentless misery of working inside an Amazon warehouse.” The author, at least according to the account, did not work with autonomous mobile robots.

Linda Baker, Senior Environment and Technology Reporter

Linda Baker is a FreightWaves senior reporter based in Portland, Oregon. Her beat includes autonomous vehicles, the startup scene, clean trucking, and emissions regulations. Please send tips and story ideas to [email protected]