SoftBank In Deal With Symbiotic For AI-Powered Warehouses

Symbiotic robot ai warehouse 01

SoftBank and Symbiotic joint venture GreenBox to offer capacity in automated warehouses, amidst frenzied interest in artificial intelligence

Japanese tech investment giant SoftBank has formed a joint-venture with warehouse automation company Symbiotic that is to build an AI-powered warehouse-as-a-service network to be made available to third parties.

The companies said they are investing a total of $100 million (£78m) in the venture, called GreenBox Systems, which has contracted to buy $7.5bn worth of AI-powered systems from Symbiotic over a six-year period starting in fiscal 2024.

Under the deal SoftBank, already a Symbiotic investor, will receive warrants representing about 2 percent of Symbiotic’s outstanding shares.

The company separately said it has bought 17.8 million Symbiotic shares.

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Image credit: Symbiotic

Automated warehouses

Massachusetts-based Symbiotic currently provides automated warehouse technology to customers including Walmart, which said in May it was deploying Symbiotic systems across its fulfilment centres in the US.

The technology includes autonomous mobile robots and arms that can pick items from shelves.

GreenBox is to be majority owned by SoftBank, which is to own 65 percent to Symbiotic’s 35 percent, after SoftBank chief executive Masayoshi Son said the company plans to go into “offence mode” to take advantage of AI opportunities.

“GreenBox taps into the powerful potential of AI and other enabling technologies in supply chains,” said SoftBank Investment Advisers managing partner Vikas Parekh.

Symbiotic chief executive Rick Cohen in 2022
Symbiotic chief executive Rick Cohen (centre) in 2022. Image credit: Symbiotic

Supply chain expansion

Symbiotic said it epects more than $500m in annual recurring revenue from the sale of software, parts and services to the venture.

The company went public on the Nasdaq exchange via merger with a SPAC last year.