An Israeli robotics startup launched just last year has secured $25 million in new funding to provide last-mile implementation solutions to global organizations including leading Fortune 500 companies.
Tel Aviv-based 1MRobotics was founded in 2021 by serial entrepreneur Eyal Yair, who is CEO and software companies Netonomy and CartCrunch (acquired), and Roee Tuval, formerly of augmented reality company Magic Leap and now COO . The company participated in the Intel Ignite scaling program for early stage startups last year.
In Monday’s announcement, 1MRobotics said it had raised $25 million — including an earlier initial round of $8.5 million — led by US-Israel investment firm Ibex Investors as well as current backers Emerge VC, a Tel Aviv-based, Berlin-based firm. Target Global and INT3, an investment fund set up by dozens of Israeli technology founders.
The company has set out to build the infrastructure for the “next generation of automated dark stores” or automated nanoscale fulfillment centers that will serve global companies in their logistics and delivery operations.
“Last mile delivery is a very challenging space where deliveries with maximum efficiency and in the shortest possible time are critical,” Yair told The Times of Israel.
“Dark shops are a new category of infrastructure necessary for fulfillment at the super local level,” he said, adding that there are an estimated 10,000 such centers worldwide.
Dark shops are essentially existing physical spaces that have been turned into largely automated facilities, where robots and other systems pick, prepare, and pack items with little to no human intervention. They are much smaller in size than traditional repositories and can be created more quickly.
In a bid to compete with retail giant Amazon, it allows businesses of all sizes to stock inventory locally and offer same-day delivery or pickup to customers.
Companies like Softbank-backed Reef Technology, which specializes in transforming underutilized urban spaces into fulfillment centers, have made inroads into this space with thousands of locations across the United States. Reef acquired a logistics software startup in Tel Aviv last year to boost its operations.
Israeli company Fabric, formerly CommonSense, also operates in the space with automated facilities in city centers such as Tel Aviv. The company is currently working with pharmacy giant Super-Pharm to process online orders for same-day delivery.
“Dark shops are a new category of infrastructure necessary for express commerce and direct-to-consumer retail,” Yair said. By research sector published In February, about 45,000 dark stores are expected to be operational by 2030.
1MRrobotics offer is the robotics system itself. Systems can be deployed either as stand-alone units [within as shipping container] or within any retail facility – allowing complete flexibility to place our units at any point around the world,” Yair explained.
The systems allow for rapid deployment of darkroom stores without organizations having to spend large amounts of money in the setup process, the company says.
“An important part of our solution is our comprehensive approach to providing a hardware and software ecosystem in order to ensure smooth operation at any scale and complexity,” Yair said. “Our goal is to create a new global technology infrastructure for the last mile fulfillment industry that will complement any existing fulfillment network.”
Yair said that “5 to 10 years from now, automated dark stores on the street corners of the largest megacities around the world will be in abundance. Retail is experiencing its next phase of development.”
1MRobotics said the investment announced Monday will be used to expand into new markets, acquire more enterprise clients, and grow its team. The company currently employs about twenty people.
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