Locus Robotics’ $117 million round is the final stop before the IPO

  • Locus Robotics raised $117 million in a round led by Goldman Sachs.
  • The Series F round brings the company’s valuation to nearly $2 billion.
  • CEO Rick Faulk said the company is poised for an IPO once markets wake up.

Locus Robotics on Tuesday announced a $117 million Series F round led by the growth capital arm of Goldman Sachs and G2 Venture Partners — both new investors.

Goldman CEO Mark Midle, who will join Locus’ board of directors, described the company as a “market leader” in warehouse automation in a statement accompanying this announcement. Locus CEO Rick Faulk told Insider that Goldman, G2, and other investors in the oversubscribed round have been eyeing Locus for more than four years. Faulk’s ambition to take the company public within the next year or two encouraged him to bring new talent to the board.

“When the window opens, hopefully in the next 12 to 24 months, we’ll be ready to go. We have the numbers for that,” Faulk told Insider.

Locus’ core product is a “co-bot” – a 5ft tall robot with a small screen on top and a 2ft circular base that can hold a box, bin or shelves. Human workers pick items from the storage shelves and the robots emerge to move the items to a conveyor or packing station.

According to the company, the system saves employees miles of walking out of the shift and increases productivity by a factor of two or three. Crucially, according to the company, it offers a relatively straightforward integration process for warehouses.

The company now has more than $100 million in contracted recurring revenue, Faulk said.

The pandemic has spurred the adoption of robotics in e-commerce warehouses, and a tight labor market has kept demand high. But that doesn’t mean all warehouse robotics startups are thriving. Venture funding is tightening and those without proven results are in trouble, Faulk said.

Aside from the efficiencies the robots themselves bring, Locus’s “robots-as-a-service” business model doesn’t require a multi-million dollar upfront purchase, making it easier to sell for warehouse operations. Faulk said it’s also more resilient to corporate belt-tightening as warehouses become more efficient at using the system over the course of multi-year contracts, lowering their cost per order.

Founded in 2014, Locus robots are in use in more than 320 warehouses around the world. Existing customers include DHL, Geodis, CEVA Logistics, Whiplash, Radial and more.

Pending a more favorable climate for an IPO, Faulk said Locus will increase its headcount from 280 at the end of 2021 to 500 this year, expand into the Asian market and consider acquisitions “opportunistically”.

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