July 1, 2021

FetchFamily400x275Zebra Technologies has announced its intention to acquire Fetch Robotics, which provides on-demand automation through autonomous mobile robots (AMRs). The $290 million purchase price includes 95% of the business that Zebra does not already own, and the transaction is expected to close in Q3 2021.

Fetch’s AMRs are used for optimized picking in fulfillment centers and distribution centers, as well as just-in-time material delivery in manufacturing facilities. The company offers seamless integration with warehouse and manufacturing systems without the need to change a facility’s infrastructure. The company’s Workflow Builder is a drag-and-drop development software to enable out-of-the-box automation so customers can deploy automated material handling workflows in hours instead of months. The AMRs help reduce the impact of labor shortages by improving throughput, efficiency, and productivity while working alongside people in fulfillment, distribution, and manufacturing environments.

“The acquisition of Fetch Robotics will accelerate our Enterprise Asset Intelligence vision and growth in intelligent industrial automation by embracing new modes of empowering workflows and helping our customers operate more efficiently in increasingly automated, data-powered environments,” said Anders Gustafsson, CEO of Zebra Technologies. “This move will also extend our ongoing commitment to optimize the supply chain from the point of production to the point of consumption. We are excited to welcome the Fetch team to the Zebra family.”

In addition to Fetch’s portfolio of AMRs, the company offers cloud-based enterprise software, FetchCore, which helps deploy and integrate workflows into manufacturing and warehouse operations, providing insights into facilities through machine learning on AMR sensor data. Zebra said the acquisition will further its vision to bring advanced robotics solutions to customers facing labor-intensive operations. This includes integrating Zebra’s FulfillmentEdge and SmartSight offerings with Fetch’s robot systems, in order to provide an offering that helps drive greater efficiencies and higher ROI.

“The Fetch team is excited to join Zebra and accelerate the adoption of flexible automation through AMRs and our cloud-based robotics platform,” said Melonee Wise, CEO of Fetch Robotics. “Together we have the right team with the right technology to provide end-to-end solutions that solve real customer problems. By helping customers dynamically optimize and holistically orchestrate their fulfillment, distribution, and manufacturing operations, together we help enable their ability to stay ahead of growing demand, minimize delivery times and address shrinking labor pools.”

Zebra said Fetch’s business is generating annualized run-rate sales of approximately $10 million, and that its go-to-market footprint and vertical market expertise will drive synergies. “Our goal is to give robots and people the opportunity to do their very best work,” said Bill Burns, chief product and solutions officer at Zebra. “This acquisition is a continuation of what we expect to be a series of innovations that reflect our commitment to creating solutions that help our customers improve their operations through robotics.

Ash Sharma 1 225x222Commenting on the news, Interact Analysis' Ash Sharma (pictured, right) said Fetch's $305 million valuation was reflective of its technology leadership in the AMR industry, as well as its recurring revenues and massive opportunities that the company has in terms of its potential total addressable market. While its valuation represents about 30x its current revenues, Sharma said it was lower than the much more recent $1 billion valuation of a competitor in the space, Locus Robotics.

"Fetch Robotics is a pioneer in the autonomous mobile robots industry, and is at the forefront in terms of technology and product standards," said Sharma. "However, it has struggled to keep pace with the competition in terms of growth and deployments. Indeed, Fetch has had a comparatively conservative approach to expanding its customer base, which has seen it limited to annual sales of approximately $10 million. Meanwhile, peers such as Mobile Industrial Robots (MiR) generate much more than quadruple this."

Sharma added that Zebra's relative huge scale and customer footprint in warehousing will likely turbocharge Fetch's growth, "accelerating the pace at which its robots can be adopted and scaled at customer sites globally." Interact Analysis said the $1 billion AMR sector (2020) is forecast to grow to close to $10 billion in 2024.