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stow Robotics has acquired a majority stake in iFollow, a Paris-based developer of autonomous mobile robots (AMRs). Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Founded in March 2017, iFollow offers three AMR models that can transport 300 kg, 600 kg and 1,000 kg payloads. Its AMRs and software are suited for a variety of use cases, including collaborative picking and in-and-outbound transport.
The acquisition of iFollow is backed by funds managed by Blackstone, stow Group’s majority shareholder. The partnership with iFollow’s management, who remain on board, strengthens and builds on stow Robotics’ strategy and in the global warehouse automation market.
stow Robotics, which launched in September 2021, is the warehouse automation business unit of stow Group, a Belgium-based provider of industrial storage solutions. It regrouped all existing automated solutions for pallets and totes and related services and teams under stow Robotics.
“We are thrilled to welcome iFollow to stow Robotics and have been impressed by the entire iFollow team,” said Jos De Vuyst, CEO of stow Group. “This is another important milestone for stow Robotics, adding a company that fits perfectly within our portfolio of scalable automation solutions. We truly believe this partnership will unlock significant synergies with our Atlas 2D pallet solution, as well as meaningfully accelerate iFollow’s growth through our commercial network. iFollow shares our vision for the future and provides the perfect platform for further AMR-based solutions.”
“We are delighted to join forces with stow Robotics, a leader in warehouse automation,” said Vincent Jacquemart, co-founder and CEO of iFollow. “We firmly believe this is the right partnership to start iFollow’s next phase of long-term growth, with a reliable, global partner. In addition to its commercial traction, technology-driven approach, and its advanced industrial base, we share with stow the same conviction on the importance of technology in warehouse automation and the future of intralogistics. It’s a very exciting moment for our team, which is looking forward to shaping the industry even further.”
This is at least the second robotics acquisition for stow in eight months. In September 2021, stow Group acquired a majority stake in Raiser Robotics, a German-startup that develops automated storage and retrieval systems (ASRS). Raiser Robotics’ e.scala 3D is a modular ASRS system that can pick bins and boxes. The company was founded in 2019.
There were a number of AMR-related acquisitions in 2021, including four in a five-month span. Most notable was ABB’s acquisition of ASTI Mobile Robotics.