Fetch Robotics raises $46 million to expand warehouse automation internationally

Placed against our sci-fi expectations, robotics have largely fallen short — with one notable exception. In 2019, automation is a mainstay in factories and warehouses. There the technology has been proven out in the field, and VCs are happy to invest millions.

This morning Fetch Robotics announced a $46 million Series C raise. The round, led by Fort Ross Ventures, brings the San Jose-based warehouse automation company’s total funding up to $94 million. New investors CEAS Investments, Redwood Technologies, TransLink Capital and Zebra Ventures joined the round, along with existing investors O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures, Shasta Ventures, SoftBank Capital and Sway Ventures.

Fetch says the money will be used to help expand globally for the largely U.S.-based operation. It also will be using funds to increase production for consumer demand and, naturally, additional research and development.

“Customers have responded enthusiastically to our unique Cloud Robotics solution, and we’re responding by securing the funds we need to continue growing and enhancing our offerings,” CEO Melonee Wise said in a release tied to the news. “The competitive pressures for excellence in logistics have never been greater. Our Autonomous Mobile Robots and cloud platform enables our customers to meet their customers’ demands while meeting their own financial objectives.”

The warehouse automation space has been booming in the past several years, and Fetch has been at the forefront. Founded in 2014 by Wise, an alumnus of Bay Area robotics pioneer Willow Garage, the company specializes in autonomous modular robotics designed to automate tedious warehouse tasks. We visited the company’s South Bay offices last year to get a fuller picture of what it has been working on.

These days the company is one of the primary alternatives to in-house automation plays like Amazon Robotics.