In recent years, the retail category has become one of the biggest and best-funded robotics categories — particularly when coupled with connected verticals like warehouse fulfillment and logistics. Berkshire Grey has flown mostly under the radar, but is kicking off 2020 with some pretty sizable funding news.
The Massachusetts-based company just announced a lofty $263 million Series B. The round is led by SoftBank, which has taken a particular interest in robotics of late, along with participation from Khosla Ventures, New Enterprise Associates and Canaan.
In spite of having a name that sounds like a financial holdings company, Berkshire Grey has displayed some pretty sophisticated pick-and-place robots. It’s positioned particularly well in the warehouse space, making it a competitor with the likes of Amazon Robotics and Fetch. Like the others, Berkshire’s pitch is largely around questions of labor shortages in such high-intensity jobs, while claiming to increase e-commerce operations by 70% to 80%.
“Our customers from leading enterprises in retail, ecommerce, and logistics are selecting Berkshire Grey as a competitive differentiator,” founder and CEO Tom Wagner said in a release tied to the news. “With our intelligent robotic automation, our clients see faster and more efficient supply chain operations that enable them to address the wants of today’s savvy consumer.”
The funding follows recent rounds by companies like Bossa Nova, Osaro, Realtime and a $23 million raise by Soft Robotics earlier this week. Berkshire says the money will go toward increased headcount, acquisitions and a push toward international growth.