AI supply chain robotics firm GreyOrange raises $140mn in Series C funding
GreyOrange, the global leader in AI-powered robots, raised $140m in Series C funding – the largest round ever raised by an industrial robotics company – to accelerate its US expansion and plans to develop next generation of flexible supply chain systems.
The new funds will enable GreyOrange to fulfill its vision of developing and deploying intuitive, flexible and scalable solutions for end-to-end automation across the supply chain, from factories to fulfillment centers, and beyond.
GreyOrange plans to build on the strong growth it has experienced over the past five years by expanding operations across Asia, Europe and the U.S.
To that end, the company recently established its U.S. headquarters and manufacturing facility in Atlanta, Georgia, and launched a major R&D center in Boston, Massachusetts.
Mithril Capital, co-founded by Ajay Royan and Peter Thiel, led this round, which included Binny Bansal and other existing investors including Blume Ventures.
They join Mitsubishi, Flipkart, and the Project Verte as investors in the company. Ajay Royan, Co-Founder and Managing General Partner of Mithril Capital, will join the GreyOrange board.
Samay Kohli, Co-Founder and CEO, GreyOrange said, “We are fortunate to have an experienced management team and investors with a common vision to build the next generation of flexible supply chain systems.
“Having a veteran board member and strategist like Ajay Royan join the board will help fulfill that vision faster. Fundraising events are important milestones in a company’s journey, and for GreyOrange, the funds will allow us to continue to invest in our R&D and supply chain to maintain our market-leading position.”
Binny Bansal, Flipkart co-founder and Group CEO said, “As an entrepreneur myself, I have closely followed how Samay and Akash have built and grown GreyOrange to become an international technology company with customers across the world. I look forward to supporting and witnessing the new phase of their growth.
“The team will build on its strengths, especially in AI and machine learning, to launch new generation products for flexible automation.”
Will Public Procurement Budgets Increase in 2021?
Procurement is more than just a private enterprise. COVID-19 reminded us that sourcing materials is an essential part of the government’s role. Throughout 2022, tiny departments sourced massive amounts of personal protective equipment (PPE), medical supplies, and emergency vaccines and testing kits. Even non-procurement professionals were pulled into the fray, as frantic timelines demanded nothing less.
According to Celeste Frye, co-founder and CEO of Public Works Partners, the crisis brought procurement to the attention of skilled employees who had never considered it. As non-procurement personnel stepped up to help their coworkers, many found that they’d stumbled upon a critical and rewarding job. “Existing public employees have seen the essential nature of the work”, Frye said. “[They’ve] gained some critical skills and possibly [grown] interested in pursuing procurement as a longer-term career”.
Small, Local Suppliers Take Charge
Frye, whose firm helps organisations engage stakeholders and develop long-term procurement strategies, thinks it well worth the effort to open one’s mind to new opportunities. Cooperative contracts, for instance, can help public departments and municipalities save money, time, and effort. By joining together with other towns or cities in the region, public procurement teams aggregate their purchasing power and can drive better deals.
These cooperative contracts have the added benefit of advancing equity. Smaller suppliers that struggle to compete with established firms for government contracts can act as subcontractors, helping big suppliers fulfil bits of the project. Once they get their foot in the door, small, local, and disadvantaged suppliers can then leverage that government relationship to take on additional projects.
Especially as governments start to pay attention to procurement resilience, public procurement departments must expand their requests for proposals (RFPs) to take into account innovative solutions and diverse suppliers. According to Frye, Public Works Partners—a certified female-owned firm—has benefitted from local and state requirements that specify diversity.
Post-Pandemic Funding Swells Procurement Budgets
And the pandemic won’t be the end of it. City governments need to build sustainable energy infrastructure such as solar panels, charging stations, and recycling plants, ensure that masks and medicines are never in short supply, and source new technologies to keep up with cloud and cybersecurity concerns.
Public procurement budgets will likely increase to match demand. As Peter Ware, Partner and Head of Government at Browne Jacobson, explained, “in a non-pandemic world, the [U.K.] government spends on average around £290 billion on outsourced services, goods, and works...anywhere between 10% and 14% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Post-pandemic, city procurement will only increase as national governments provide local divisions with emergency funding.
And in truth, government employees might jump at the opportunity. Frye noted that public procurement could give immediate feedback on new programmes: “[Procurement] is where new laws and policies ‘hit the road’ and are implemented”, she said. “Professionals in these fields get the satisfaction of creating real change and seeing quantifiable outcomes of their work”.