$2.8 billion, that’s the amount of money that Japan’s SoftBank recently invested in AutoStore, the Norwegian automated, super high density, storage solution manufacturer founded in 1996. Now a 40% shareholder, SoftBank declared, via its Chairman and Chief Executive Masayoshi Son “We view AutoStore as a foundational technology that enables rapid and cost-effective logistics for companies around the globe”. And what it sees in AutoStore’s future is rapid sales expansion, something it should be able to facilitate thanks its numerous connections in Asia where e-commerce is growing relentlessly. “Most of the warehouses around the world are still manual,” said AutoStore Chief Executive Karl Johan Lier, “The way we see it, during the next decade, more and more warehouses around the world will be automated. That will secure that this market will continue to grow with two-digit percentages annually already for the next decade”. Indeed, the market for warehouse automation is projected to hit $47.4 billion by 2023, 6.4% higher than already high pre-pandemic forecasts, according to market-research firm Interact Analysis. Another way in which SoftBank could accelerate AutoStore’s growth is by connecting it with companies such as South Korea’s e-commerce giant Coupang Inc., warehouse automation provider Berkshire Grey and U.S. online fulfillment specialist ShipBob Inc, all of which the Japanese bank has taken prior stakes in. According to Interact Analysis, those companies could benefit from a closer relationship with AutoStore and are potential customers for its technology. With this latest move, AutoStore, which generated $190m in sales in 2020, is now valued at $7.7 bn.
Photo ©Autostore robot
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