Alex Ramirez said most warehouses are built like Frankenstein. Separate technology systems help managers optimize and automate labor, equipment and orders within the building. But managing those systems together can feel like a monster.
“The warehouse has been created and designed and thought of as this cacophonous Frankenstein. But as warehouses get more complex, as the rise of omni-channel has accelerated, as the pandemic has struck, it’s forced companies to change their 10-year digital transformation efforts into 60 days,” said Ramirez, CEO of CognitOps, a warehouse automation system.
The Austin company announced Tuesday that it raised $3 million in seed funding to help companies unify and automate these disparate systems. The startup centralizes these programs into a single platform and then uses machine learning to offer warehouse managers insight on the most efficient way to run their buildings, recommending how many workers are needed, the best way to operate equipment, which orders should be released and more.
As the COVID-19 pandemic placed labor and order volume stress on companies’ supply chains, Ramirez said demand for CognitOps has grown. The software helps warehouse managers organize workers so they’re social distancing, and performing more efficiently, so there are fewer bodies needed on site, he said. Ramirez added that, since his platform also keeps track of scheduling, companies can use it for virus contact tracing. The company also says it allows its customers to adapt to a dramatic rise in online orders.
“How do you adapt an environment that’s bound by the laws of physics to a reality that is constantly changing and morphing?” Ramirez told Built In. “CognitOps says, ‘Yes, your warehouse is shaped like a rectangle and it goes left to right, but these are some of the decisions you can make to adapt your existing operation to this brave new world.”
He said CognitOps aims to quadruple its revenue by the end of the year, and that the startup is on track to grow its revenue by 300 percent the following year. As demand grows, the company plans to build an application that communicates its insights to robots currently in warehouses, as well as humans filling orders too.
“We went into 2020 with meager, conservative targets,” Ramirez said. “And now I think it’s carpe diem, seize the day.”
Founded in 2018, the fresh funds bring total investment in CognitOps to $3.5 million. Ramirez said he plans to spend the cash on growing the startup’s automation execution systems and a hiring spree. The 11-person company aims to double in size by the end of the year, hiring on software engineers, data scientists, customer success managers and more.
Chicago Ventures led the seed round, with participation from Schematic Ventures, CEAS Investments and Redwood Technologies.