Life is getting simpler for consumers in many ways. One of them is the ability to buy things online and then pick them up at a drive-through. This click-and-deliver process may be simple to use for the consumer, but somewhere in the background, there are some very complex calculations, algorithms and robotics at play to make this happen.
Myrmex is a company active in that space. They have developed an innovative fully unmanned grocery delivery system leveraging the power of mobile robotic units. Ioannis Kanellos, founder and lead strategist at Myrmex, explains that “with the robotic unit and the arm manipulator, we are able to cover the last steps of delivery, from order fulfilment to order delivery.”
Myrmex targets the European and US grocery online markets, focusing on the last mile delivery part of the sector, capable of delivering an online order just a few seconds after the customer arrives at the pick-up point. The system also takes care of replenishment, returns, temperature controls and payment methods.
Founded in early 2015, Myrmex invests heavily in research and development, with ten of its eleven staff members engaged in this field, which is based in Athens, Greece. By June 2015, Myrmex had developed a prototype and received an investment from Odyssey Venture, a Greek venture-capital fund backed by EIF. Odyssey also brought in much-needed expertise: “They offered very useful input, helping with contacts, corporate governance, and also in defining our strategic direction.” Ioannis adds.
The investment allowed the company to push ahead with product development, which included the submission of three different patent applications in the USA. With its revolutionary material-handling automation solutions based on robotic technologies, Myrmex is looking to occupy new territory with online grocery retailers but also invest further in research: “In 2018, the intention is to expand the company, tripling numbers by hiring staff to work in R&D and marketing” explains Ioannis.
Next time you pick up your groceries, you’ll have a better idea of what goes on in the background.
Type of business: robotics
EIF financing: JEREMIE
Financial intermediary: Odyssey Venture Partners