Pioneer, A startup aiming to get its autonomous technology to the nerve center of the supply chain has raised $ 65 million in funding just eight months after being released from the stealth. The Series B round was led by Koch Disruptive Technologies and brings total funding of $ 118 million.
Other existing investors, including NEA, 8VC, and Prologis Ventures, have increased their investments, the company said. New investors included Henry Crown and Company and Evolv Ventures.
The company's goal of automating distributorships doesn't get the same amount of attention as the publicly accessible robot axis that other companies are pursuing. But it could be just as powerful and potentially lucrative for the company that does it. At distribution yards, goods move from truck to warehouse and ultimately to consumer. These economic centers rely on people to perform repetitive manual tasks using diesel-powered yard trucks. There are approximately 400,000 sales offices in the United States, a number that gives an idea of the potential size of the opportunity.
The Golden, Colorado startup, previously known as Azevtec, developed a three-part system that includes an autonomous electric truck, operational management software, and site infrastructure. The overall system automates the manual aspect of yard operations, including moving trailers around the yard and to and from loading docks. The system can also couple and uncouple trailers, connect and disconnect trailer brake lines and monitor the position of the trailers.
Outrider promotes the dual benefits of its electrical and autonomous system. The company finds that its electric yard trucks are ideal for autonomy because of their lower maintenance, lower running costs, and reliable clean power supply. Andrew Smith, the company's founder and CEO, says disruptions caused by COVID-19 have highlighted the need for this type of automated distribution shipyard technology.
Outrider, which now employs 110 people, has completed "several" pilot programs, including one with Georgia-Pacific, and has expanded its customer base since it came out of the shadows in February.