As e-commerce giants like Amazon continue expanding their on-demand offerings, retailers are struggling to keep up. CommonSense Robotics wants to make near-instantaneous deliveries accessible to smaller businesses with micro-fulfillment centers that can be built inside existing retail spaces. The company announced today that it has raised $6 million in seed funding from Aleph VC and Innovation Endeavors.
CommonSense Robotics was founded by Eyal Goren, Ori Avraham, Shay Cohen and Elram Goren after they became curious about why more grocery stores don’t offer online shipping and on-demand delivery. They discovered that it’s just not economically sustainable for most supermarkets (or even well-funded startups for that matter, as the recent flurry of consolidation in the food delivery space shows). The team decided to work on ways for retailers to be able to deliver orders within an hour and keep margins the same as it would be in their brick-and-mortar stores, but without having to charge fees or higher prices.
CommonSense Robotics is now getting ready to deploy its micro-fulfillment centers for the first time and is not giving away a lot of details until they start operating. Each one combines robotics and artificial intelligence to automate the preparation of orders, including receiving inventory, picking orders and packing them. Then deliveries are carried out by the retailers themselves or third-party services. Building micro-fulfillment centers into stores means retailers can save on overhead and sell more things to their existing customers.
“Retailers that use our platform aren’t just catching up to leaders, they are positioning themselves to set new standards for the industry,” says Goren.