Swiss drone company Verity, which specializes in UAV operation in automated warehouse management and inventory services, has raised 30 million Swiss francs ($32 million) in a Series B fundraising round largely underwritten by A.P. Moller Holding – the parent company and venture capital arm of shipping giant Maersk, which began using the aerial logistics management solution a few months ago.
News that A.P. Moller had become a major financial source of the Zürich startup’s fundraising effort appears to strongly indicate Maersk has been impressed with the results of Verity’s drone inventory work in the four North American warehouses in which it has tested the system. That presumed satisfaction jibes with reports that the Danish cargo shipping and ground transport giant is planning to extend the UAV platform to more of the hundreds of other logistics centers it operates around the world.
Read more: Shipping and logistics giant Maersk deploys automated drones for warehouse inventories
The cash infusion by Maersk’s VC arm will assist Verity’s plans to scale its automated drone inventory business beyond the 30 sites in 13 countries it now provides the service.
The automated UAV fleets are typically operated at nights or on weekends when warehouse traffic is reduced. They rotate between scanning barcodes – which are fed into the client company’s digital accounting system to detect omissions or repetitions – and returning to docks for recharging stints.
Verity says it has a backlog of requests to install its drone inventory solution from third-party logistics providers, retailers, and manufacturers to address critical operational challenges. The startup says supply chain automation has become a top priority for companies in those activities, with inventory management representing a prime use case for those capacities.
Traditional and still prevailing use of humans for inventory scanning is not only dangerous for employees perched on ladders or other elevation devices to check labels. It’s also costly, laborious, and sufficiently boring that errors become frequent, resulting in lost productivity and sales.
Read: Autonomous drones transform warehouse drudgery [Video]
Verity says it has the effective and less expensive solution to that – a drone-driven warehouse asset its client Maersk now appears intent on expanding to its warehouses around the globe.
The entry of A.P. Moller as a financial backer, meanwhile, is expected to facilitate the startup’s plans to provide that service to an increasing number of clients already asking for it.
“The completion of our Series B funding round is an important nod to the value our system provides to clients, and it demonstrates investor confidence in our industry-leading solution and team,” said Verity CEO, Raffaello D’Andrea – who previously cofounded Kiva Systems, which was acquired by Amazon in 2012 and rebranded as Amazon Robotics. “We are especially pleased to welcome A.P. Moller Holding as a key investor in Verity, a global influencer committed to supporting companies that are delivering supply chain excellence and a positive impact on the environment.”