Vecna Robotics Grabs $13.5M, Led by Drive, as Logistics Robots Stay Hot

Vecna Technologies’ logistics robotics business has raised $13.5 million in venture capital, according to a filing with the SEC.

The funding for Vecna Robotics marks the first outside equity investment in any of 20-year-old Vecna’s businesses. Last year, Vecna completed a reorganization in which it split its various products and services into separate businesses operating as wholly owned subsidiaries. Through its first two decades, Vecna has been mostly self-funded, outside of winning grants, co-founder Daniel Theobald told Xconomy in April of last year. But he said that strategy was changing—Vecna’s logistics robotics business planned to raise at least $10 million in venture capital.

The logistics robotics sector has drawn a lot of interest from investors in recent years, as a wave of startups has risen since Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) acquired Kiva Systems for $775 million in 2012. Recent deals include a $25 million investment in Fetch Robotics, $25 million for Locus Robotics, $25 million for 6 River Systems, and $20 million for Soft Robotics. Except for Fetch, those companies are based in the Boston area. They’re all trying to take advantage of businesses’ increased spending on automation in factories and warehouses, driven in part by an explosion in online shopping.

One of the board directors listed on Vecna Robotics’ SEC filing is Nick Solaro, a partner at Columbus, OH-based venture firm Drive Capital.

Reached by e-mail on Thursday, Vecna Robotics CEO Dan Patt confirmed that Drive Capital led the funding round. Patt (pictured) was hired earlier this year after spending six years working on robotics with the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

Jeff Engel is a senior editor at Xconomy. Email: jengel@xconomy.com Follow @JeffEngelXcon

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