The round, led by Kensington Private Equity Fund, will help the Kitchener, Ont.-based robotics firm scale its operations. Otto, a division of Clearpath Robotics, uses pallet-sized autonomous vehicles to transport goods to assembly lines on factory floors. Its customers include Toyota, GE and Nestlé. Other investors in the round included Inovia Capital, BMO Capital Partners and Export Development Canada, which participated through the fund-matching program it launched in response to the pandemic. (The Logic)
Talking point: The round brings Otto’s financing to US$70 million since 2015, according to Crunchbase. It comes as factories globally rethink their operations with new considerations around physical distancing. The virus has delivered a blow to global manufacturing, and resuming operations is largely contingent on limiting the spread of the virus. The meat-processing sector, which COVID-19 has hit particularly hard, is considering ways to increase automation and limit human contact in facilities. While increased robotics may help stimulate manufacturing in the short -term, it raises questions about prolonged unemployment among the workforce whose positions may become redundant or even deemed a liability.