Gather AI, a supply chain robotics company, today announced a $10 million Series A financing round led by Tribeca Venture Partners, with participation from existing investors Xplorer Capital, Dundee Venture Capital, Expa, Bling Capital, XRC Labs and 99 tartans. This latest funding accelerates Gather AI's go-to-market strategy and continued development of their leading real-time inventory visibility platform. The platform uses off-the-shelf autonomous drones, paired with sophisticated AI-driven software, to solve the problem of misplaced inventory in warehouses – a problem that is the source of an estimated $150B annual loss that heavily impacts manufacturers, warehouse operators, and consumers.
The COVID-19 pandemic massively impacted the supply chain, fueling a 55% boom in e-commerce that also caused dramatic supply shocks. The ripple effects of a strained supply chain have driven 60% annual labor turnover that continues to plague operations worldwide. Present-day economic uncertainty further throws the supply-demand formula off balance for warehouse operators, pitting record demand and the pressure to reduce operational cost against each other. This upheaval has caused typical warehouses to misplace on roughly 10% of their inventory, worth $10M on average, without the labor to find it. Lack of inventory visibility is causing supply chain facilities to lose up to $1M per month. There are over 150,000 warehouses worldwide, a number that is only growing, and operators are desperately in need of warehouse automation, a market which is growing 23% annually.
To help minimize the financial and operational impacts of high labor turnover, human error, and the resulting revenue loss, Gather AI's platform marries drones with powerful autonomy and machine learning software developed by pioneers in deep learning and robotics. Gather AI's drones fly autonomously using breakthrough software that enables them to navigate the GPS-denied environment of warehouses without requiring any changes to building infrastructure or processes like lighting, wifi or labeling. The company's machine learning engine provides rich insights, enabling the drones to detect and aggregate important data like box damage, case counting, volumetric estimation, text reading, and inventory of palletized goods. Gather AI's drones collect data 15x faster than human cycle counters, with the proven ability to read over 95% of inventory labels and barcodes, minimizing the work for human cycle counters. Any unreadable labels are automatically brought to the operator's attention in the web dashboard. Ultimately, Gather AI's deep learning and easy-to-use interface allows human-powered labor to focus on upskilled tasks like inventory planning, management, and accurate inventory reporting.
"The supply chain issues making headlines less than a year ago put a spotlight on challenges that the logistics industry has been trying to address for the last two decades: how to effectively manage operations to maximize revenue and efficiency, all while minimizing frustrations that come with labor shortages," said Gather AI Co-Founder Sankalp Arora. "The reality is, the majority of warehouses have access to technology that is from before the e-commerce boom, which has exacerbated the struggle to keep up with the changes in both industry demands and customer habits. Gather AI empowers warehouse operators with automation without needing capex to help solve age-old problems. Since our first warehouse deployment in 2020, we have seen incredible demand. This funding round will help us meet the overwhelming interest."
Gather AI was co-founded by three Carnegie Mellon's Robotics Institute graduate students:
• Dr. Sankalp Arora, Co-founder, developed safety and sensor planning for the world's first safe autonomous helicopter, which won the Howard Hughes award for an outstanding improvement in fundamental flight technology
• Dr. Daniel Maturana, Co-founder & Machine Learning Scientist, has worked at the intersection of computer vision, machine learning and robotics, specifically on landing zone and object classification from laser scans, which featured VoxNet, the first use of modern Deep Learning techniques on 3D data
• Geetesh Dubey, Co-founder & Robotics Engineer, has been developing autonomous robotics for the last 12 years, during which time he contributed to and later led the development of India's first autonomous military vehicle and developed one of the world's fastest fully-autonomous camera-only drones
"By utilizing commercially-available drones, Gather AI has lowered cost and complexity for warehouses to adopt sophisticated and much-needed automated inventory technology," said Chip Meakem, co-founder and Managing Partner of Tribeca Venture Partners. "Whether it's a large-scale multi-warehouse operation or a single facility, Gather AI is solving a pressing need in a massive market that touches everyone from consumers to major manufacturers suffering on the production line due to supply chain issues. Gather's founding team's unique blend of robotics and software expertise is creating a new breed of robotics companies that are driving value by delivering AI-driven software solutions via highly-reliable off-the-shelf hardware– in this case, drones. We're excited to help the team scale up to meet its current influx of demand."