Soft Robotics brought in $26 million in the first closing of its Series C funding round. This brings the robotic picking company’s total funding to $86 million, according to Crunchbase.
Soft Robotics plans to use the latest round of funding to expand commercial deployments of mGripAI, its robotic picking product. mGripAI is an IP69K-rated automation package that uses 3D vision and artificial intelligence (AI) to allow industrial arms to perform automated bulk picking in food processes.
mGripAI, originally brought to market in 2021, can perform over 90 picks per minute. The system includes perception modules that capture high-resolution, 3D images. These images are sent to an intelligence module, which translates them into action for the robotic arm and gripper. The mGrip soft gripper works in unison with the intelligence module to pick the product.
The mGripAI system is able to track objects in real time for maximum pick accuracy. The system is also capable of grasp optimization, intelligent robot motion control and embedded object understanding.
“We’re delighted that some of the world’s leaders in the food production and automation markets have decided to join existing investors in supporting SRI’s continuing growth journey,” Jeff Beck, CEO of Soft Robotics, said. “SRI’s technologies are increasingly crucial to enabling and scaling efficient and safe production of several food categories. This round of growth capital strengthens SRI’s ability to rapidly develop, deploy and support those technologies.”
Tyson Ventures, the venture capital arm of Tyson Foods and an existing Soft Robotics customer, led the funding round. Marel and Johnsonville, another Soft Robotics customer, also joined the funding round as new investors. The round also included participation from the company’s existing investors.
“At Tyson, we are continually exploring new areas in automation that can enhance safety and increase the productivity of our team members,” Rahul Ray, Senior Director of Tyson Ventures, said. “Soft Robotics’ revolutionary robotic technology, computer vision and AI platform have the potential to transform the food industry and will play a key role in any company’s automation journey.”
While the company has primarily focused on automated bulk food processes, in May, Soft Robotics announced that it will be expanding the commercial focus of its mGripAI, a soft gripping solution for automating bulk food picking processes. The company plans to make the product available for order fulfillment, sortation, decanting and kitting.