It’s 1am, while most of us are fast asleep, hundreds of thousands of warehouse associates are just beginning their shifts. They are busy picking, placing and packing heavy items in massive warehouses with limited breaks in between. The job of a warehouse associate is often tiring, painful, and mundane. More importantly, it can also be risky and frequently results in worker injuries. No wonder warehouse jobs are falling out of favor, resulting in 40%+ annual attrition in the industry and a consequently increased cost to find new associates.
At the same time, driven by the rapid growth in e-commerce, the need for warehouses has skyrocketed. The warehouse space under construction in the US has grown 5X from under 50M square feet in 2013 to over 255M square feet in 2019 with no signs of slowing down. This means the labor shortage in warehouses will be even more intense in the coming years. The intersection of these polarized trends presents a unique opportunity to simultaneously address the labor shortage and fulfill rapidly increasing warehouse orders. This has resulted in a massive demand from companies to deploy warehouse automation solutions.
Because tasks in a warehouse are semi-structured/unstructured, they have been extremely hard to automate historically. The search for an autonomous dexterous pick-and-place solution has been ongoing for a long time with limited success.
Enter Dexterity, a company that is revolutionizing dexterous automation starting with pick and place tasks in warehouses.
Dexterity uses a generalizable software-driven, hardware-agnostic approach involving intelligent software, controls, and machine learning to realize human-like dexterity with commodity robots and grippers. As a result, Dexterity is able to deliver end-to-end automation for existing workflows with minimal operational disruption, significant cost reduction, along with system-level throughput and quality improvements. In addition, Dexterity provides robot-as-a-service (RaaS) to its customers, where the customers pay per robot per month/year. The customers will no longer have to spend millions of dollars in upfront capital expenditures thereby massively decreasing the time to ROI.
Today, Dexterity emerges from stealth after raising $56M. Lightspeed is excited to back the company alongside our friends at Kleiner Perkins and Obvious Ventures.
When we first met Samir Menon (Dexterity Founder & CEO) in November 2017, we knew he was poised to do something big and we immediately decided to lead the seed round. Not only did Samir have the cross-functional technical chops needed to solve such a hard problem, but he also had the drive and the vision to build a massive business. In a short span of 2.5 years, Samir has assembled an exceptional team of some of the best and the brightest in robotics, built a strong tech stack that is generalizable, and delivered significant customer value by driving immediate operational efficiencies.
Having worked with the team from Day One, we have been extremely impressed with how this company operates. They’ve exceeded almost every single goal they set out for themselves and have continuously raised the bar. Whether it’s technology development or driving customer satisfaction, the Dexterity team always sets up high goals and makes it a point to exceed them. And what excites us the most is that while the warehouse is the first frontier, the ambitions of Dexterity go much beyond — to automating the most mundane and painful dexterous tasks across industries and functions. We believe that Dexterity is one of the few companies in the world that has almost an uncapped market potential.
At Lightspeed, we’re excited about our partnership with the Dexterity team as they continue pushing the envelope for robot dexterity and modernize the supply chain and beyond. Given how much they’ve accomplished in just 2.5 years, we can’t wait to see what they’ll accomplish over the next decade.