Mithril, others invest $140 million in robotics start-up GreyOrange
Mithril Capital, co-founded by legendary Silicon Valley investor Peter Thiel and Ajay Royan, led the funding round, GreyOrange said in a statement
Bengaluru: Warehousing automation and robotics start-up GreyOrange on Thursday said it has raised $140 million in a Series C funding from Mithril Capital, Flipkart co-founder Binny Bansal and existing investors, marking the biggest fundraise by an Indian hardware start-up.
Mithril Capital, co-founded by legendary Silicon Valley investor Peter Thiel and Ajay Royan, led the funding round, GreyOrange said in a statement. Mithril recently raised its second fund of $850 million.
Thiel, who over the years has backed a number of companies including Facebook, also co-founded digital payments company PayPal and Silicon Valley-based big data firm Palantir Technologies, before becoming a prolific investor.
Both Mithril and Bansal came in as new investors, while existing investor Blume Ventures also participated in the current round. Other existing investors in the start-up include Flipkart, Mitsubishi and Project Verte. Royan from Mithril will join the GreyOrange board.
“As a global investor focused on emerging category leaders, Mithril is proud to partner with the GreyOrange team to advance our shared vision of a universal platform for flexible automation. As online and offline channels converge across a wide range of industries, we are excited to support robotic solutions that thoughtfully bridge the world of bits and the world of atoms, driving better health, safety and efficiency for workers and customers alike,” Royan said in the statement.
The Singapore and Gurugram-headquartered warehouse automation firm has manufacturing units in India, China and the US, with research and development (R&D) units in India and Singapore. In August, the company established a new R&D center in Boston, Massachusetts and also has plans to expand across Asia and Europe.
“The fundraise is going to be more about into getting our own manufacturing supply chain and into R&D,” said Akash Gupta, co-founder, GreyOrange. “We are still very focused on that (warehousing) part of the supply chain because there is enough room to get the efficiency right in the current warehousing and sortation centers. We will also double down investments in our Boston R&D center, as well as our centers in India and Singapore.”
Founded in 2011 by Gupta and CEO Samay Kohli, GreyOrange designs, manufactures and deploys artificially-intelligent robotics systems that can automate routine tasks at warehouses and fulfillment centres of large e-commerce and retail firms.
GreyOrange currently handles warehousing for companies such as Flipkart, Jabong, Myntra and PepperFry. The company has two flagship products called Butler and Linear Sorter. Sorter, which is used by most of its clients, is a conveyor belt system fitted with robotic arms and advanced tools like dimensioning and weighing modules capable of sorting up to 6,000 packages per hour. Butler is a storage and retrieval robot that moves on warehouse floors.
In addition to the current product line, GreyOrange has launched The Butler PickPal, which is an automated picking system.
Gupta added that the company will launch more new products in the future, as it expands its capabilities in warehousing automation.
“The team will build on its strengths, especially in AI and machine learning, to launch new generation products for flexible automation,” Bansal said in the statement.
The latest funding in GreyOrange is also part of a broader trend in the Indian start-up ecosystem where mid to late-stage startups have been raising multiple rounds of capital in quick succession at increasingly higher valuations. Mint reported on 6 August that investors have already struck nearly two dozen deals of $100 million or more this year, compared with 22 last year, while at least a dozen more such deals including mega funding rounds at Oyo, Byju’s, Swiggy and Zomato, ShareChat, BigBasket and others are in the works.
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