Logistics robot developer closes Series B funding

With an eye on the Chinese logistics industry, Warburg Pincus is helping Beijing-based logistics robot developer Geek+ deliver its parcels more efficiently.

Warburg Pincus has provided two-thirds of the $150 million Series B fundraising for Geek+, a Beijing-based logistics robot developer which uses artificial intelligence technology in robot systems.

Existing investors Volcanics Venture and Vertex Ventures also participated in the round.

Proceeds will be used to develop more robotic products for logistics. Zheng Yong, founder and CEO of Geek+, expects his business to grow by more than five times this year.

Volcanics Venture and Gaorong Capital invested $7.2 million in Geek+ in 2016, followed by a $14.4 million investment from Vertex in May last year.

Founded in 2015, Geek+ provides robots that help with warehouse logistics. The company has shipped out more than 5,000 robots for over 100 robotic warehouse projects. It will continue to grow its business in the US, along with expansion in China, Japan, Australia, and Europe.

According to Geek+, its robots help in the warehouses of e-commerce sites such as Alibaba, Suning, Vip.com and Japan’s ACCA International. With the help of AI and big data algorithms, machines move and pick the goods, which shortens the time for manual sorting.

On Single's Day this year - November 11 - China generated 1.35 billion shipping orders online, up 25% on the previous year. A total of 416 million parcels were shipped on the day that has been dubbed China's Back Friday.

Major e-commerce sites such as Alibaba and JD.com all announced record transaction volumes that day. Alibaba’s logistics arm Cainiao, for example, processed more than 1 billion deliveries while JD.com said that 90% of its orders were delivered the next day. The requirement for faster delivery has become the driver for the logistics robotic industry. Anything to help each warehouse prepare goods in advance so that it can ship out as soon as possible.

It is also a government-backed industry. Beijing began to promote internet technologies for logistics back in July 2016, and has upgraded them to the state level. Since then, logistics companies have focused their technological development on robotic warehouses, unmanned deliveries and autonomous driving technologies to answer the call from consumers. The standard for domestic logistics has become 24-hour delivery.

As Chinese customers continue to buy not just domestically, but internationally too, we expect more growth in logistics robots and related warehouse machinery.

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