Acquires robotics startup to scale autonomous packaging systems
GGrocery tech company Ocado Group has acquired materials handling robotics start-up Myrmex in a deal worth around $10.88 million, seeking to integrate intelligent asset handling systems into Ocado’s operations; specifically the Ocado Smart Platform. The deal is expected to be completed by June 6.
Ocado Group already has a minority stake in Myrmex, acquired in October 2020, and appointed them to design and develop a proprietary automated solution that sorts bagged customer orders into frames for distribution.
This Automated Frameload solution was unveiled in January at Ocado’s expo; Ocado Re: Imagined, as one of seven innovations set to be introduced into operations. The automated solution will reportedly go live later this year, with the latest acquisition expected to accelerate the rollout process, as well as potentially open the door for more bespoke automation solutions in the grocery pickup process.
As part of the acquisition, 30 staff from Myrmex with deep domain expertise in automation hardware and software will move over to Ocado’s team of technologists.
“The collaboration between Ocado Group and Myrmex led to the launch of Automated Frameload in a little over a year,” said James Gralton, Chief Engineering Officer at Ocado Technology. “This acquisition is another important step on our automation journey and provides an opportunity to further grow and expand our engineering presence in Southern Europe as we continue to invest in developing Myrmex’s technologies for the Ocado Smart Platform.”