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Warehouse picking robot startup XYZ raises $17 million

Massachusetts-based logistics robot startup XYZ Robotics has raised a Series A+ round of $17 million, led by Source Code Capital, Gaorong Capital and Morningside Capital. XYZ, which develops picking robots for warehouses, said the financing would help scale up research and development and bolster its operational capabilities. This funding round brings the company’s total investment to $27 million.

E-commerce has steadily risen in prominence within the retail market, eating into the market share of physical retail stores — buoyed by Amazon’s explosive growth. The e-commerce major’s obsession with putting end customers at the center of the supply chain has effectively shrunk delivery times from more than a week to less than two days. 

Expediting delivery would warrant warehouses and fulfillment centers to improve upon its various operational inefficiencies. This invariably means more automation, and XYZ’s picking robots make a case here. With advanced 3D vision systems, advanced motion planning and deep learning algorithms, these robots can improve efficiency and stock-keeping unit (SKU) coverage — while reducing the need for human intervention. 

“XYZ Robotics will continue deepening its understanding of logistics and manufacturing, improving robot’s hand-eye coordination capabilities and making such solutions ready for mass production,” said CEO Jiaji Zhou in a statement. “We will utilize the capital resources to expand our talented team and push the boundary of our technology so as to keep bringing better solutions to the customers.”

The 3D-AI Vision processor, XYZ’s core technology, allows robots to pick anything and place it anywhere. The system comes with an automated tool changing system allowing picking robots to pick packages — regardless of weight or dimensions — as long as they are within its picking range. 

These tool changes are quick, with Chief Technology Officer Peter Yu saying the necessary tool gets replaced in 0.6 seconds. In a recent instance, XYZ worked with a leading logistics warehouse to integrate, test and fine-tune a piece picking station — all in two weeks. The company has stated that its robots can sort 900 pieces of products per hour, with an accuracy of 99.9%, while providing a return on investment in roughly two years. 

Apart from improving its piece-picking systems, XYZ also looks to adapt its perception systems and end effectors to allied applications. The company’s tool-changing technology is now pending a patent, which combined with artificial intelligence algorithms, can truly act as a “one-robot-fits-all” solution, reducing other costly hardware installations. 

“From mobility to grasping, robots’ capabilities are getting closer to [those of] human beings,” said Runze Chen, vice president at Source Code Capital. “More data, better algorithms and growing compute power will enable more robots in various scenarios.”

Since its inception in 2018, XYZ has scaled up from a campus lab project to a company ranked in the top three in Amazon Robotics Challenges for three consecutive years. 

“As a young and energetic startup, XYZ Robotics has an extraordinary technical vision and R&D capabilities,” said Zhe Chen, vice president at Morningside Capital. “I also believe that XYZ’s hand-eye coordination technology will become the core foundation in the coming robotic era, empowering millions of robots to be widely used in various industries.”

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Vishnu Rajamanickam

Vishnu predominantly covers technology stories from within the logistics and transportation space. He connects with key stakeholders within the freight industry, profiles startups, and brings in perspective from thought leaders in the freight space.

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