Investments in Berkshire Grey and Vecna Robotics led total warehouse robotics startup investments of $381 million in the first quarter of 2020, up 57% from the same quarter 2019.
PitchBook’s 2020 Q1 Supply Chain Tech report provides an overview of the technologies and companies benefiting from venture capital (VC) supply chain investment and highlights emerging subsectors and opportunities for growth in last-mile delivery, warehousing and supply chain management.
While overall investment in supply chain technology declined between Q1 2019 and Q1 2020, warehouse robotics investment exploded in the recent quarter. Supply chain technology companies raised $1 billion in VC between 59 deals in North America and Europe, with $263 million of that going to Berkshire Grey and $50 million going to Vecna Robotics.
The increased warehouse robotics investment validates PitchBook’s recent Collision at Home survey that points to a major shift in investor sentiment in the current COVID-19 world. Perceived opportunities in supply chain technology rose significantly from 2% to 11% in the six months since their November 2019 Web Summit survey.
The PitchBook report compares pre-COVID investor sentiment to the most recent quarter – with COVID-19 now expanding worldwide. Logistics operators were already investing heavily in labor-saving automation solutions pre-COVID-19. Interest has, of course, increased notably since that time.