Reliance Industries Limited has acquired Indian robotics startup Addverb, in what is likely a bid to adopt greater and more sophisticated levels of robotic automation in its myriad warehouses of a wide range of businesses. The acquisition saw Reliance pay $132 million (Rs 984.5 crore) for the startup, which was already working with Reliance as a service provider for some of the company’s businesses.
Addverb is an Indian startup that provides a full stack robotic automation service, including hardware deployment of robotic conveyor belts, semi-automated systems in warehouses, and a pick by voice software as well. The key businesses for Addverb include solutions that make operations in e-commerce warehouses and energy storage facilities more efficient than before.
Robotic automation in factories and warehouses is an increasing field. Global e-commerce giant Amazon, which is incidentally locked in a growing tussle with the Reliance group for the takeover of Future Retail, was the first company to adopt robotic automation at a warehouse level in India. The company used its in-house robot, Kiva, to make processes including picking up of a product and its packing more efficient than before. The company deployed its solutions initially in its large warehouses in the country.
According to a Bloomberg report, Addverb already offers its services to JioMart, Ajio and Netmeds – three of Reliance’s businesses offering grocery deliveries, fashion e-commerce and medicine and medical services, respectively. The startup also offers its automation services at Reliance’s oil and gas storage facilities in its Jamnagar, Gujarat refinery – and is also implementing its solutions in Reliance’s new solar energy factories.
Sangeet Kumar, co-founder and chief executive of Addverb, reportedly said in a call that Reliance plans to expand its warehousing facilities to “hundreds of locations within the next two years” – a move that Addverb’s services, now a part of Reliance itself, will help the company scale.