Walmart’s robotics partner just raised $17.5 million to fund more store automation
Get ready to see more robots cruising the aisles at stores.
Bossa Nova Robotics just raised $17.5 million to help it build out its line of inventory-scanning retail robots. The funding round comes fresh off of a deal the startup inked with Walmart last month that will put Bossa Nova’s automated store clerks in 50 of the big-box chain’s stores.
Investors behind the round include Intel Capital, WRV Capital, and Lucas Venture Group. The news brings Bossa Nova’s total funding to date to $41.7 million.
The company says the money will go towards building out its engineering team to scale its robotics operation and grow its data service.
Bossa Nova’s roving retail robots are around two feet tall with an extendable arm equipped with lights and sensors that determine what’s in stock on a particular shelf. They also store inventory data in a central database to help stores make more-informed decisions about what to sell.
That capability has become especially important for brick-and-mortar stores as they compete with online retailers, which often boast huge troves of data on their shoppers and algorithms to determine efficient stocking decisions.
Bossa Nova is hoping it can help physical chains catch up in this regard.
“Bossa Nova is solving a hard inventory problem that costs retailers billions of dollars every year,” Bossa Nova board member and Paxion general partner Michael Marks said in a statement. “The company has developed a unique set of algorithms and proprietary technologies that give them a strong lead in autonomous robotics and retail data analytics.”
Bossa Nova is one of many companies that have joined the rush to beef up in-store technology. Intel, one of Bossa Nova’s backers, pledged earlier this year to invest $100 million into a project to overhaul every aspect of how stores operate with help from a host of startups.
“At Intel, we believe that increasingly retailers will be separated by those who have data and use it to grow and optimize the shopping experience, and those who don’t and make their decisions based on ‘experience’ and subjective observations,” Intel CEO Brian Krzanich said at the time.