Nimble Robotics Takes In $50M, Adds AI Luminaries

Nimble Robotics Simon Kalouche feature

Nimble Robotics, a maker of order picking and packing robots for ecommerce, is the latest fulfillment automation maker to join the massive VC gravy train of late in ecommerce technology, raising $50 million in Series A financing in a round led by DNS Capital and GSR Ventures.

Also participating in the funding round were Accel and Reinvent Capital, among others. San Francisco-based Nimble Robotics plans to ramp up hiring, product and technology development and scale its fulfillment robot deployments for a growing list of customers in retail and ecommerce. Competitors in the robotic picking arm space include RightHand Robotics and Kindred AI.

“There is no fulfillment solution that can handle double the orders, fulfill them in half the time, with half the staff, for half the cost,” said Simon Kalouche, Nimble’s founder and CEO in a release. “We’ve assembled an all-star team of engineers to build the future of autonomous on-demand fulfillment to solve this problem. Our next-gen robotics technology will allow retailers and grocers of all sizes to have the fastest and most affordable fulfillment.”

Kalouche, a former PhD student at Stanford University and a research fellow at Carnegie Mellon University, has added two Stanford luminaries to his board as part of the funding round: Fei-Fei Li, a co-director of the Stanford Institute for Human-Centered AI (HAI) and a former chief scientist of AI at Google Cloud who was one of his PhD advisors; and Sebastian Thrun, founder of GoogleX and Waymo and a former director of Stanford’s AI Lab (SAIL).

“Nimble Robotics addresses both reliability and integration concerns,” said Li, also seed investor, who Kalouche called ‘a legend in AI and computer vision.’ “Their robots have been picking reliably in production, at scale for over a year for some of the world’s largest retailers. They’ve developed an AI-powered product that makes integration fast and frictionless for their retail customers.”

In addition to Stanford, Nimble’s engineering team also draws its considerable brain power from Carnegie Mellon, MIT, Berkeley, Cornell, Ohio State, NASA, SpaceX, Tesla, Boston Dynamics and GoogleX, among others.

“We want to build the future of fulfillment,” Kalouche told an engineering program blog at The Ohio State University, where he earned his undergraduate degree in 2014. “We want to reimagine everything from the inside of the warehouse to your front door, to get you what you want, when you want it, in a faster, cheaper, more environmentally friendly way than Amazon can. There’s still tons of opportunity to do that, and we’re onto something.”