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Soft Robotics $20m in funding @SoftRoboticsInc #MakerBusiness

Soft Robotics Gains $20 Million to Back Logistics Expansion – WSJ (video).

Soft Robotics Inc., which makes pliable grippers to pick up objects from pens to pizza dough, is getting $20 million in funding to expand into the logistics and e-commerce market.

The Cambridge, Mass.-based company‘s technology is aimed at taking robots in industrial settings beyond repetitive, programmed movements by giving them the ability to pick up and move various goods of varying sizes and weights. The rapid growth of online sales, combined with a tight labor market, has companies looking for such tools in warehouses, where armies of human workers pick, pack and ship e-commerce orders.

Founded in 2013, the company has 32 employees and expects to add around 20 more by the end of the year. It has more than 100 customers, Mr. Vause said, including a large retail pizza company and Just Born Quality Confections, maker of Peeps marshmallow treats.

Mr. Vause declined to say how much annual revenue Soft Robotics generates, but said it was less than $10 million. Revenue grew last year more than 80% from the year before, according to the company.

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