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The Amazon Industrial Fund leads a $3.2M investment for Instock Inc.

Instock Inc. is a California-based start-up developing automated storage and retrieval systems (ASRS). The Amazon Industrial Fund investment has brought Instock's total seed funding to $6.2 million, which the company plans to use in making ASRS systems accessible to businesses of all sizes.

Ellie Ramirez-Camara profile image
by Ellie Ramirez-Camara
The Amazon Industrial Fund leads a $3.2M investment for Instock Inc.
An Instock upside-down mobile robot delivers a bin to a floor-level one. | Image credit: Instock

Instock Inc. is a California-based start-up developing automated storage and retrieval systems (ASRS) composed of a modular racking system and autonomous mobile robots that drive inside the racking to collect bins and transport them to ground-level working stations. The modular racking can easily be adapted to preexisting fulfillment facilities and can be built into various shapes and heights up to the height of the storage space. Once the system is set into motion, additional racking can be installed to increase storage space on demand without interrupting the ongoing operations.

The same goes for the system's mobile robots: being the only part requiring maintenance, individual robots may be shut down and removed without disturbing the rest of the operation. They also do not demand additional space: the robots operate within the walls and floor of the racking, leveraging U-shaped ramps at the end of each aisle that let them drive from the floor onto the ceiling of the racking. Since the mobile robots carry the storage bins by holding onto their wings, their footprint is small. The robots also transport the bins exclusively horizontally, with the only vertical maneuver being the one where a ceiling-riding vehicle hands off a bin to another vehicle directly below it. Mobile robots never have to abandon the racks, as the racking is also equipped with unloading ramps where the vehicles station to wait for pickup.

These features make the Instock especially appealing to e-commerce operators looking to make their logistics operations more efficient and cost-effective, especially since the technology requires as little as 1500 square feet of available space to be workable, can be adapted into preexisting warehouse facilities, and can be scaled as e-commerce businesses grow. Automation is increasingly demonstrating that it is the most reliable strategy to increase efficiency and drive down costs in an industry that still relies on manual labor for most operations. Instock is bound to establish itself as an industry leader, offering a cost-effective, easy-to-use automation technology that prioritizes high-density storage and speedy robot-to-human retrieval of goods.

The billion-dollar Amazon Industrial Fund was founded in April 2022, and its beneficiaries to date include Agility Robotics, a start-up working on an autonomous bipedal robot; BionicHIVE, the developers of an autonomous robot that can adapt to an existing warehouse; and Mantis Robotics, a company currently working on a tactile robotic arm. Unsurprisingly, the retail giant also recognizes the need for technologies like the one Instock is developing. It remains to be seen whether the company will be interested in testing Instock's offering in its warehouses, just like they are doing with Agility Robotics' Digit humanoid robot.

The Amazon Industrial Fund investment has brought Instock's total seed funding to $6.2 million, thanks to participating investors in the robotics and e-commerce industries, such as OneWay Ventures, Lux Capital, Commerce VC, u.ventures, and Cybernetix Ventures. The company plans to use the funding to keep working on making ASRS systems accessible to businesses of all sizes. The company also has plans to launch its first production system with a third-party logistics provider starting next year.

Ellie Ramirez-Camara profile image
by Ellie Ramirez-Camara

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