Thursday, 16 March 2023

Verity raises $32M as IKEA stores deploy its inventory drones

by Berkeley Lovelace

There’s no shortage of startups attempting to put drones to work. There is, however, a longstanding question around the efficacy of such plans. Drones — especially the smaller variety — are impressive pieces of technology, but their functionality is relatively limited. A small quadcopter probably isn’t going to prune your trees or walk your dog anytime soon.

One thing they can do exceptionally well, however, is imaging. Industries have been cropping up around this functionality in recent years, deploying drones for land management, forestry and industrial inspection, among others. There are also a number of firms, including names like Gather AI, IFM and Corvus, putting these devices to work as a method of tracking warehouse inventory.

It’s a business Verity has been in for a long time. The Zurich-based firm was founded way back in 2014, with the promise of an automated solution that can work around the clock tracking products — one of the most time- and resource-intensive tasks in a warehouse. This morning, the company announced a $32 million Series B. Led by A.P. Moller Holding and featuring Exor Ventures (among others), the round follows an $18 Series A raised back in 2018.

“The completion of our Series B funding round is an important nod to the value our system provides to clients, and it demonstrates investor confidence in our industry-leading solution and team,” said founder and CEO Raffaello D’Andrea. “We are especially pleased to welcome A.P. Moller Holding as a key investor in Verity, a global influencer committed to supporting companies that are delivering supply chain excellence and a positive impact on the environment.”

Prior to founding Verity, D’Andrea was notably a co-founder of Kiva Systems. That company was acquired back in 2012 and has since become the foundation of Amazon Robotics, with its mobile shelf-moving systems serving as the foundation of the retail giant’s automated arsenal.

Verity appears to have been cruising along just fine for the past five years. The company lists Samsung’s SDS unit and logistics firm DSV as clients. IKEA’s Swiss wing has also been implementing the technology since 2021. The furniture brand says it has 100 of Verity’s drones operating across 16 locations located in Belgium, Croatia, Slovakia, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Switzerland.

“We are investing in technology across the board so that our stores can better support customer fulfillment and become true centers for omnichannel retailing,” says Tolga Öncu of Dutch IKEA holding company INGKA. “Introducing drones and other advanced tools — such as, for example, robots for picking up goods — is a genuine win-win for everybody. It improves our co-workers’ well-being, lowers operational costs and allows us to become more affordable and convenient for our customers.”

Verity raises $32M as IKEA stores deploy its inventory drones by Brian Heater originally published on TechCrunch