At the heart of McRock’s investment strategy is the importance of human-machine collaboration. Robotics and self-improving automation are key pillars of the significant advancement that will occur in the Industrial IoT over the next decade. To further McRock’s leadership in the Robotics sector, we have led the US$33 million Series B financing in San Antonio, Texas-based Plus One Robotics Inc.
Plus One’s mission is to bring industrial robotics into the warehouse. Founded in 2016 by some of the smartest minds in the robotics sector, the company has quickly become the leading provider of vision software for logistics robots. Plus One’s 3D and AI-powered perception software, PickOne, works with any robot arm, gripper, and cloud service to deliver precise hand-eye coordination enabling robots to perform a range of warehouse tasks.
The human-machine collaboration is managed by Yonder, Plus One’s robot supervision software. The system leverages human intelligence to handle exceptions for the variety of items passing from dock to door. One human, or Crew Chief, currently manage up to 50 robots remotely, allowing companies to meet the demands of the 24/7 consumer. This critical collaboration between human and machine is the essence of Plus One Robotics where “plus one” in the company’s name is the human. The Crew Chief prevents the robot from stopping when it encounters a challenging pick and the human’s decision is used to train the AI so the robot knows exactly what to do the next time the same challenge is encountered. Over time, the robot will need less human instruction and each Crew Chief will be able to oversee an increasing number of robots. Plus One’s slogan is “Robots Work, People Rule”.
Other investors in the financing round include McRock’s Limited Partner Kensington Capital as well as TransLink Ventures, BMWi Ventures and Ironspring Ventures. McRock’s Co-founder and Managing Partner, Whitney Rockley, has joined Plus One’s Board of Directors and Vice President, Siddharth Srivastava has joined the Board as an observer.
In September 2020, McRock participated in Clearpath Robotics’ US$34 million Series C financing. Clearpath and its OTTO Motors division, enable the world’s largest companies to create safer and more productive workplaces with autonomous mobile robots (AMR). Clearpath Robotics are the feet and Plus One Robotics are the hands in a warehouse.