Autonomous forklift maker Seegrid is searching for acquisitions to help it keep up with a market that’s been growing fast as manufacturers and retailers scramble to automate their facilities to keep up with the e-commerce demand. “We’re on the hunt now for several,” CEO Jim Rock told Forbes. “We’re looking to roll up our industry and consolidate the market globally.”
Rock says he is searching for companies in both hardware and software, including analytics, that could be adjacent to its business in giant, industrial robots that can move pallets holding thousands of pounds worth of goods. He declined to say if he has any deals in the works currently. The Pittsburgh-based company acquired Box Robotics, which makes high-definition maps and three-dimensional Lidar, for an undisclosed amount last October.
Seegrid’s acquisition search is the latest sign of the increasingly hot market for industrial robots that can improve efficiency and speed at factories and warehouses. In February, Locus Robotics reached a $1 billion valuation, while Berkshire Grey announced that it would go public in a SPAC deal that could value the company at $2.7 billion. As the bigger players get bigger, consolidation seems inevitable.
“It’s the wild west right now in the robotics business,” Rock says.
Founded in 2003 as a spinout from Carnegie Mellon – one of its founders is CMU robotics researcher Hans Moravec – and majority owned by Giant Eagle, Seegrid has been growing fast over the past years. Its revenue, which doubled last year, is now above $70 million. Unlike many other robotics operations, Seegrid is profitable, Rock says. The company has raised a total of $152 million at a valuation of $450 million, according to venture-capital database PitchBook.