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Ocado acquires Greek robotics startup Myrmex for €10M to accelerate automation in retail

UK tech company Ocado Group announced that it is acquiring Greek robotics start-up Myrmex in a deal worth €10.2M, as it looks to accelerate the development of intelligent asset handling systems for the Ocado Smart Platform.
Image credit: Myrmex
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UK tech company Ocado Group announced that it is acquiring Greek robotics start-up Myrmex in a deal worth €10.2M, as it looks to accelerate the development of intelligent asset handling systems for the Ocado Smart Platform.

Ocado Group, which provides end-to-end online grocery fulfillment solutions to some of the world’s largest grocery retailers, previously acquired a minority stake in Myrmex Inc in October 2020 and appointed the Greek company to design and develop a proprietary solution that automates the loading of totes containing customer orders onto frames ready for dispatch.

Ocado also provides The ‘Automated Frameload’ solution (AFL) that was unveiled at Ocado Re:Imagined in January 2022 as one of the seven critical innovations, and will be going live in Ocado Group Customer Fulfillment Centres (CFCs) later this year. CFCs are highly automated warehouses built for the grocery companies that Ocado has partnered with, in countries such as the UK, Australia and many more.

According to the UK tech company, the acquisition of Myrmex will enable faster rollout of AFL across Ocado Group’s global CFC footprint, as well as open up new opportunities for the development of automation solutions for its Smart Platform.

“The acquisition of Myrmex will enable us to accelerate the rollout of AFL across our CFCs around the world, as well build on Myrmex’s intellectual property in other areas to develop more cutting-edge automation for our warehouses around the world. We are excited to welcome to Ocado Group the Myrmex team of world-class engineers. This acquisition will enable us to further grow and expand our presence in Southeast Europe,” James Gralton, Chief Engineering Officer at Ocado Technology, tells The Recursive.

Ocado Technology already spans 11 development centres across the world and over 2,500 technologies who are developing advanced end-to-end platforms for online grocery in the world, Gralton added.

Disruptive solutions and pioneering technology

Established in 2015, Myrmex has developed products and solutions applicable to a variety of processes in the British company’s CFCs, but its technology also has potential applications for in-store locations, specifically for automating the grocery order pickup process.

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According to Myrmex’s CEO George Katiniotis, the Greek startup has worked closely with the UK company during the last 20 months and realized that the two companies were aligned in their businesses.

“We are impressed with its disruptive solutions, pioneering technology, visionary management and talented people. Today as a proud member of the Ocado group, our company is entering a new era. Τοgether we are now heading to a wonderful future designing and building innovative robotic solutions for online grocery, effectively supporting Ocado clients entering the online channel, and creating outstanding customer experiences for the end customer,” Katiniotis tells The Recursive.

A team of over 30 people from Myrmex with deep domain expertise in automation hardware and software will join Ocado Technology’s 2,500 strong team of technologists, the company said in a statement. The two companies have also agreed the terms of the transaction and expect to complete the acquisition by June 6th, 2022.

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Bojan is The Recursive’s Western Balkans Editor, covering tech, innovation, and business for more than a decade. He’s currently exploring blockchain, Industry 4.0, AI, and is always open to covering diverse and exciting topics in the Western Balkans countries. His work has been featured in global media outlets such as Foreign Policy, WSJ, ZDNet, and Balkan Insight.