USA – Soft Robotics, an innovative robotics start-up, has raised US$23 million from investors including its most recent partner, FUNAC Corp., to expand its robotics food packaging and manufacturing solutions.

The Series B funding round was co-led by Calibrate Ventures and Material Impact and includes additional existing investors Honeywell, Hyperplane, Scale, Tekfen Ventures, and Yamaha.

Established in 2013, Soft Robotics has developed a proprietary grasping technology that seeks to addressing some of the most challenging applications in primary and secondary food packaging as well as manufacturing operations.

The company’s technology, machine vision, and software solutions enable automation solutions for large industries such as food and beverage, consumer goods and e-commerce supply chains.

Soft Robotics intends to use the proceeds of the funding round to accelerate growth and drive international expansion in core packaging and manufacturing markets.

“This new funding will allow us to power the next phase of our growth strategy and continue to provide solutions to our customers’ greatest challenges,” said Carl Vause, CEO of Soft Robotics.

“Variability is the kryptonite of the robotics industry. By offering a system that is able to grasp and manipulate items that vary in size, shape, and weight, we are able to solve the problem of high variability in both products and processes.”

In addition to bringing solutions in food packaging and consumer goods manufacturing, Soft Robotics is also working with e-commerce, logistics, and retail customers to address the high cost of online returns logistics.

The company claims that its technology has the unique ability to handle the most unstructured and delicate items and can now help automate reverse logistics.

Commenting on the investment, Kevin Dunlap, Co-Founder of Calibrate Ventures said; “We are thrilled to continue to support Soft Robotics in its quest to transform workforce automation and to be playing a part in its future,”

“Through its precise, reliable and easy-to-use technology, Soft Robotics is at the vanguard of the advanced automation space and is well positioned to become the standard for gripper solutions globally.”

In December last year, Soft Robotics announced a strategic partnership with FANUC to integrate Soft Robotics’ mGrip adaptable gripper system with any FANUC robots through the deployment of a new controller.

The combined product enabled FUNAC to expand into the food processing and packaging sector.