InVia Robotics, a startup that provides fulfillment centers with automated robotics technology, has raised $20 million in a series B round of funding led by Point72 Ventures, with participation from Upfront Ventures and Embark Ventures.

Los Angeles-based InVia Robotics is effectively a robotics-as-a-service platform providing ecommerce distribution hubs with next-gen warehouse automation technologies. The InVia Picker, for example, works in collaboration with humans to transfer goods from shelves to dispatch.

Above: InVia’s robotics

Automated robotics technology has been infiltrating the retail realm as businesses search for ways to decrease operational costs and optimize productivity. French startup Exotec recently raised $17.7 million after debuting its autonomous Skypod system, which uses mobile robots that can move in three dimensions. Elsewhere, Bossa Nova last month raised $29 million for its store inventory robots, while grocery giant Ocado has showcased new picking and packing robots that use computer vision to figure out the best way to grasp a product.

Put simply, robotics are here to stay, and they are getting smarter.

InVia Robotics’ core selling point is the accessibility it affords companies. Rather than requiring huge up-front hardware and software investments from retailers, InVia offers a subscription-based pricing model, enabling companies to get up-to-speed quickly and compete more effectively with warehouse automation stalwarts such as Amazon.

“To compete with behemoths like Amazon, warehouse automation is critical for ecommerce companies; but the overhead cost of purchasing a fleet of robots is often beyond reach,” noted InVia Robotics founder and CEO Lior Elazary.

A few months back, InVia announced it had secured ecommerce company Hollar as a customer, with plans to roll out 100 InVia Picker robots at Hollar’s Los Angeles warehouse.

Prior to now, InVia had raised around $9 million, and with another $20 million in the bank it said that will reinvigorate its efforts to deploy its robotics platform at scale, with plans to double its employee count by the end of 2018.

“Ecommerce industry growth is driving the need for more warehouse automation to fulfill demand, and AI-driven robots can deliver that automation with the flexibility to scale across varied workflows,” added Daniel Gwak, co-head for AI Investments at Point72 Ventures. “Our investment in inVia Robotics reflects our conviction in AI as a key enabler for the supply chain industry.”

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