March 11, 2021

NimbleRobotics400x275San Francisco-based Nimble Robotics has announced raising $50 million in Series A financing, led by DNS Capital and GSR Ventures, with participation from Accel and Reinvent Capital and others. The company said it will use the capital to further accelerate hiring plans, product and technology development, and scaling of robot deployments for customers’ fulfillment operations.

The company’s fleet of AI-powered robots intelligently pick, pack, and handle millions of products, spanning from apparel and electronics to beauty, general merchandise, and grocery items. The company said its robots are deployed in fulfillment centers across the U.S., picking more than 100,000 items per day for customers, including several Fortune 500 retailers.

“There is no fulfillment solution that can handle double the orders, fulfill them in half the time, with half the staff, for half the cost,” said Simon Kalouche, Nimble’s founder and CEO (pictured, left), referencing the growth of eCommerce demand and continuing labor shortages caused by COVID-19 and other demographic shifts. “We’ve assembled an all-star team of engineers to build the future of autonomous on-demand fulfillment to solve this problem. Our next-gen robotics technology will allow retailers and grocers of all sizes to have the fastest and most affordable fulfillment.”

The company said the piece-picking task, where products are picked off a shelf or out of a bin and packed into a customer order, remains mainly manual at many warehouses. Because of the vast diversity in product size, shape, weight and fragility, it is the most labor-intensive part of the fulfillment process and the most challenging task to automate. Nimble said automated piece-picking has not yet been adopted at scale because robots have struggled to handle the millions of different eCommerce products with human-level reliability, as well as high capital and time costs associated with technology integration.

“Nimble addresses both reliability and integration concerns,” said Fei-Fei Li, seed investor and Nimble board member. “Their robots have been picking reliably in production, at scale for over a year for some of the world’s largest retailers. They’ve developed an AI-powered product that makes integration fast and frictionless for their retail customers.”

The company said it intends to double its workforce in 2021, hiring both engineering and operational talent.