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BMW i Ventures leads $20M funding round of world’s first intelligent forklift startup

Fox Robotics funding
Image credits: Fox Robotics

An autonomous forklift company, Fox Robotics, has received investment from BMW i Ventures (the Silicon Valley-based venture fund of the leading German car maker which also backed Prewave and ELISE recently). The oversubscribed funding round totals $20 million and saw participation from lead investors, including Zebra Technologies, Japan Airlines & Translink Innovation Fund and Foothill Ventures, and existing investors – Menlo Ventures, ENIAC Ventures, and SignalFire.

Global expansion plans

It intends to use the new funds to ramp up production, invest in talent, and expand globally.

“Supply chain efficiency and resiliency are top of mind for many companies today. Fox Robotics’ autonomous forklifts allow customers to handle loads quicker and safer while increasing overall workplace productivity,” said Kasper Sage, Managing Partner at BMW i Ventures. “We’re excited for Fox Robotics’ next phase of growth, bringing intelligent automation solutions to the global supply chain.”

“Unloading trailers is a particularly challenging autonomy problem due to demanding operating environments, high throughput requirements, unknown load patterns, and the vehicles needing to be robust to frequent shocks and vibrations,” said Peter Anderson-Sprecher, Co-Founder & CEO of Fox Robotics. “The key to our success to-date has been our ability to deploy our solutions to customers and rapidly learn and improve in live production environments”

“At DHL Supply Chain a key focus has been our Accelerated Digitization Strategy which seeks to nurture and deploy innovative technology solutions at scale. For this program to be successful it is important that we establish strategic partnerships with companies like Fox where we can collaborate to develop solutions that address the unique challenges of the logistics industry,” said Sally Miller, CIO of DHL Supply Chain North America. “Over the past three years, we’ve worked closely with Fox testing and sharing operational knowledge which has resulted in a product that delivers true value for both our customers and warehouse associates.”

Appoint new board directors

With the closing of this round, Till Reuter, former CEO of KUKA, and David Fuller, former CTO of KUKA and current CEO of Artificial, joined the company as independent board directors.

“Fox is executing today on one of the key visions David [Fuller] and I had always wanted to deliver with KUKA—the automation of the material handling function. At KUKA we successfully optimized the production side with robots, and now Fox is well positioned to do the same thing with pallet movement,” added Till Reuter, former CEO of KUKA, and incoming Board Director at Fox. “It’s almost hard to believe how effective they are even when you see them up and running right in front of you.”

World’s first intelligent forklift!

Fox Robotics was founded by Peter Anderson-Sprecher and Charles DuHadway in 2018 in Austin, Texas. It is the world’s first intelligent forklift, which can autonomously unload pallets from the trailer to the receiving dock. It is on a mission to deploy its forklifts across warehouses and production environments across the globe and develop new autonomous capabilities to expand use cases.

The company has solved the hardest forklift challenge to date – unloading trailers without modifying the warehouse environment.

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