Plus One raises $50M for its parcel robotics vision systems

Another industrial automation firm is bucking VC slowdown, as Plus One Robotics this morning announces a $50 million raise. The Series C brings the San Antonio-based firm’s total funding up to $94 million to date (including a $33 million Series B back in 2021). Scale Venture Partners led the round, which also features participation from Top Tier Capital Partners, Tyche Partners and ROBO Global Ventures.

The bulk of the funding is slated for sales expansion,” founder and CEO Erik Nieves tells TechCrunch. “Since our inception, we have punched above our weight when it comes to sales; our team is small but has managed to win the major accounts in this space. This cash infusion means we can double down on our success and have more account managers onboarding new customers. As always, a portion of the cash is earmarked for product development.”

The continued interest is due, in part, to the vertical. Warehouse/logistics remains the biggest category for automation expansion. Interest in automation that was spurred on by the beginning of the pandemic has arguably only grown in the face of an ongoing labor crunch and supply chain constraints.

Plus One specifically operates on the logistics side of the equation -- an industry that never had an opportunity to slow down. If anything, shipping and package delivery became a kind of lifeline for people who suddenly found themselves isolated from the rest of the world. Nieves points to the essential nature of the clients it serves as a key to a relatively quick raise during a global economic downturn.

Image Credits: Plus One Robotics

“The world needs what we do, and our financial performance supported that premise,” he says. “Once Scale Ventures leaned in, the round came together quickly and we closed in six weeks from term sheet to wires.”

Partners certainly help. The firm has signed up some global giants as clients, including logistics heavyweights FedEx and DHL. Today’s announcement also finds them adding e-commerce firm Pitney Bowes (best known by many for their mailing equipment) to that list.

“Our partnership with an automation leader, like Plus One, reinforces our goals to drive profitability and sustainability of our physical operations,” Pitney Bowes SVP Stephanie Cannon says in a release. “The continued increase in demand we’ve seen in the ecommerce space makes modernizing the way we approach ecommerce logistics imperative."

Nieves won’t disclose how many units the Pitney Bowes deal includes, only noting, “we have over 130 robots deployed globally using our vision systems, plus many other licenses of our software being used independent of robot arms.” For its part, Plus One remains a lean team, seven years after its founding.

“We are currently at 83 full-time employees, the bulk of which are based at our headquarters in Texas,” Nieves says. “We also have facilities in Boulder and Pittsburgh, along with a subsidiary in the Netherlands (given the global reach of our users, we have a lot of systems deployed in Europe).”