GreyOrange raises $140M to develop fully-automated robotics for warehouses

GreyOrange, a Singapore-headquartered firm that develops robots for warehouses, has pulled in a $140 million Series C funding round as it targets more expansion and growth. The company was started in 2011. Today it has five regional offices across the world — covering India, Singapore, Japan, Germany, and the U.S. — three R&D centers and more than 60 […]

GreyOrange, a Singapore-headquartered firm that develops robots for warehouses, has pulled in a $140 million Series C funding round as it targets more expansion and growth.

The company was started in 2011. Today it has five regional offices across the world — covering India, Singapore, Japan, Germany, and the U.S. — three R&D centers and more than 60 ‘installations’ of its tech with retail customers worldwide. Right now, GreyOrange’s two main products are a robot ‘butler’ that moves heavy shelves and installations around warehouses and a robotic ‘sorter’ belt that organizes packages, but the vision is to build something more holistic.

“In three to four years we want to be the first in the world to achieve the goal of operating a fully-autonomous warehouse,” founders Samay Kohli and Akash Gupta told TechCrunch in an interview.

That’s a huge goal, and it puts the company in competition with established firms like Amazon-owned Kiva among others.

This new injection of funding is aimed at setting the trajectory to reach the startup’s lofty target. The round was led by Mithril Capital, a firm created by U.S. investor Peter Thiel and Ajay Royan, with participation from Flipkart co-founder Binny Bansal and existing backers that include Blume Ventures.

The capital takes GreyOrange to $170 million raised from investors that include Mitsubishi and Flipkart .

“Warehousing is completely under-serviced and nothing has really changed,” Kohli and Gupta said. “The stuff you can do now is really just the tip of the iceberg. We’re trying to strengthen our backbone, so the majority of this investment will go into our own supply chain as we really try to take it 5-10X over the next couple of years.”

GreyOrange recently forayed into North America with the opening of a headquarters in Atlanta and plans to launch a research center in Boston. The company is also looking to develop its business in the country, too. It said in a press statement that it is aiming to deploy over 20,000 robots in the next three years.

Walmart completes its $16 billion acquisition of Flipkart

Walmart announced over the weekend that it has completed a $16 billion investment in Flipkart that sees it become the majority owner of the Indian e-commerce company. The deal was first revealed back in May and now it has closed after receiving the necessary approvals. It sees Walmart take a 77 percent share in the company, […]

Walmart announced over the weekend that it has completed a $16 billion investment in Flipkart that sees it become the majority owner of the Indian e-commerce company.

The deal was first revealed back in May and now it has closed after receiving the necessary approvals. It sees Walmart take a 77 percent share in the company, buying out a number of prior investors in the process and expanding its rivalry with Amazon to a new horizon. The investment capital also includes $2 billion in new equity funding which will be used for growth while the transaction was structured so that Flipkart itself can still go public. That latter point could mean that the Indian firm must go public within four years, as TechCrunch previously reported.

Flipkart will continue to be run by its leadership with Tencent and Tiger Global retaining board seats. Those two have remained investors in the business, alongside others that include Flipkart co-founder Binny Bansal and Microsoft. Walmart previously suggested that other allies would come aboard as investors. Google was strongly mooted, but so far there have been no strategic additions.

Walmart said that its plans for India will include investments that “support national initiatives and will bring sustainable benefits in jobs creation, supporting small businesses, supporting farmers and supply chain development and reducing food waste.”

As we previously reported, it also plans to use Flipkart as a “key center of learning” for the rest of its business across the world, and that includes its home market.

“Not only is [Flipkart] innovative [with the] problem-solving culture that they have, but they are doing some great work both in the AI space, how they are using data across their platforms but particularly in terms of the payment platform that they’ve created through PhonePe. All of those things we can learn from for the future and see how we can leverage those around the international markets and potentially into the US as well,” Walmart COO Judith McKenna said back in May when the deal was announced.

Flipkart’s business could also get a whole lot more transparent since its quarterly results will be reported as part of Walmart’s earnings. Although they will be part of its international business so that might provide some protection from direct scrutiny.