Canadian autonomous robotics rockstars ready to fly
Let’s list the many reasons this latest deal is one for the McRock success story scrapbook:
- This marks the sixth successful strategic sale from McRock’s Digital Industrial portfolio.
- It’s our second successful exit in 2023 and we’re only three quarters of the way through!
- Another Canadian basement startup to international success story.
Someone grab us a tissue box because we’re bursting with tears of joy for Matt Rendall, Ryan Gariepy, Brian Webb and the team at Clearpath, and its Otto Motors division. And bravo to Rockwell Automation for recognizing the huge opportunity to take this operation to the next level. This is the kind of significant investment needed to leverage the full potential of Clearpath’s digital transformation and AI technology and scale it into the world-class robotics leader we know it should be.
McRock became an investor in Clearpath Robotics in September 2020 as part of a US$34 million Series C financing deal. Our co-founder Whitney Rockley also joined the Board at that time. Five McRock investors—Caterpillar, Mitsubishi, EDC, BDC and Kensington Capital—are also backers in the company . It takes a village to raise a robotics leader with mission-critical material handling tasks for major fortune 500 companies, including GE and Toyota.
Clearpath is automating the dullest, dirtiest and deadliest jobs
Clearpath Robotics was founded in a Kitchener, Ontario basement by four University of Waterloo grads with a vision to become the global leader in mobile robots. They built an operation that today employs around 350 people who help create safer and more efficient work environments. Their technology includes AI navigation software and robotics to allow automation of movement-based tasks in factories, warehouses and operational sites. Clearpath robots are now on the move on every continent, including possibly the world’s most hostile work environment—Antarctica.
Remember what we said in our 2021 & 2022 Responsible Investing Reports? “If the Digital Industrial had a rallying cry it would probably be ‘better, faster, cheaper, safer’.” It’s still true today, especially in light of the harsh reality that labour in North America remains scarce and more expensive than other markets, like Asia. So, the demand for automation in the industrial world has never been stronger than today. And yes, we’ll agree that Clearpath’s self-driving forklifts are totally cool. But it’s their vision for smart operations that are better, faster, cheaper and safer that made it a desirable target for acquisition. We can’t wait to see where they go next.
It’s the end of another chapter for us. But what a great book that’s being written about the many successful start-ups and tech innovators that are helping to make the world a better place for everyone.