An Indian Robotics Startup wants to beat Amazon

At the end of the decade, two Indian engineering students founded Grey Orange. They developed their college obsession with robotics into a full-blown venture. Seven years later, the homegrown startup is all set to enter the US to test its robots against the biggest names in the business. This includes Kiva Systems, a pioneer in warehouse automation which was acquired by Amazon in 2012.

Robotics Startup wants to beat Amazon

Grey Orange currently has two major offerings, “Butler” and “Sorter”. The former lifts heavy shelves and moves them around warehouses. The latter is a conveyor belt that sorts and arranges parcels by weight, size, and delivery location. There are already at least 1,000 of these robots operating at 50 sites across the world. Now, after creating a footprint in significant geographies like India, Japan,  Singapore, Indonesia, and Germany, Grey Orange is betting on deploying some 20,000 more robots in the US alone over the next three years.

The US Dream:

GreyOrange is setting up its US headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia. The company is also opening a Research and Development Centre at Boston in Massachusetts. However, the assembling will be done mostly in India.

“The US is huge. The base size of the sites is pretty big in the US. It starts with 300-400 robots per site. It will be good scale,” Akash Gupta, Chief Technology Officer of Grey Orange, told in an interview on Aug 28. The company received a lot of interest in the last two years. It is going to form a large part of its business in the next three years, Gupta said.

Road Ahead:

Singapore-headquartered GreyOrange was founded by “Gupta” and his college mate “Samay Kohli” in 2011. Since then, the venture has become one of the success stories in the startup ecosystem. Among the world’s top 50 robotics companies, GreyOrange has been voted for two straight years as the one to watch out for by trade publication Robotics Business Review.

Last year, it raised at least $38 million from a clutch of investors including Tiger Global and Blume Ventures. Although Gupta insists that the company’s expansion is not dependent on funding. The founders considered various options over the next six months.

Robotics Startup wants to beat Amazon

“The amount we may raise depends largely on the kind of investors we meet and what kind of possibilities they see in the automation business,” he said. Grey Orange also plans to roll out a new automation product that’ll work in tandem with Butler and Sorter. “We are now trying to automate the picking from the shelves which are a key part of complete automation. We are developing a product that can pick automatically from the mobile storage unit,” Gupta explained.

The company’s already testing this product and some clients have received prototypes, too. It is now creating an Omni channel warehouse to avoid duplication in inventory. “In terms of product development, we want to reach the stage of the automated flexible warehouse. That’s the focus of the R&D team.”

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