Soft Robotics is bringing a new meaning to the term "all hands on deck" for the food industry. The Bedford, MA-based technology company announced recently it had raised a $10M Series B extension to help expand its SoftAI platform. Tyson Ventures, the venture capital arm of Tyson Foods, was involved in this round of Soft Robotics' funding. They're also a customer of the technology firm as well.
As part of its AI platform, Soft Robotics can help food processors bring an extra set of robotic hands, eyes, and brains on the production line, particularly when it comes to automating the bulk picking process. Tyson Foods, which has invested $500 million in new technology and automation in the last three years, is banking on the adoption of this kind of automation to help improve safety while also increasing production.
As the COVID-19 pandemic impacted the food industry labor force--with the meat processors hit particularly hard--Soft Robotics experienced a sizable increase in demand.
"Soft Robotics patented technologies are ready and being used today to enable automation in the processing and packaging of proteins, produce and bakery products," said Jeff Beck, CEO at Soft Robotics. "Demand for both our hardware and SoftAI software solutions are increasing at an unprecedented pace. This new capital will support Soft Robotics' exponential growth thereby ensuring automation plays a major role in safeguarding the food supply against future disruptions."