Eniac’s Investment in Fox Robotics Eniac Ventures Eniac Ventures

By Vic Singh

Earlier this week, our portfolio company Fox Robotics came out of stealth mode with the announcement of their Series A round led by Menlo Ventures. We led the seed round in Fox with our friends at Signal Fire back in 2018 and couldn’t be more thrilled for this special team.

At Eniac we have a strong sub portfolio in autonomy across transport (Xwing, Sea Machines, iSee), agriculture (Iron Ox, Vence) and logistics with Fox. While transport gets the lion’s share of attention in the autonomy ecosystem, we believe that core parts of the global economy will be reimagined with autonomous solutions. The logistics industry is ripe for disruption given labor shortages and rising costs to keep up with consumer appetite for supply chain efficiency driven by the surging growth of ecommerce.

We also believe that solutions built in constrained environments that solve an acute need create the right formula for autonomy to thrive. Back in 2018, we assessed the logistics space and concluded that warehouse automation is a core area for investment. Given that warehouses are designed around the forklift — the most used vehicle — we knew there was a big opportunity to bring autonomy to forklifts.

After meeting with many of the players in the autonomous forklift space, we were convinced that Fox had the right angle for success and given the strength of the founders Charles and Peter, we decided they were the right bet for Eniac. Charles and Peter have been in the autonomy space going back to Stanford’s self-driving car team as well as working at Google Robotics, Google X, Kuka and more. They knew the challenges of autonomy first-hand and decided to focus on a problem set that was constrained but difficult to tackle. We knew they were special from the outset.

From left: Peter, CTO, Vic, Eniac and Charles CEO of Fox

Based in Austin, Fox is building an autonomous robotics forklift system with a novel approach around perception. As opposed to automating in-warehouse movement, Fox’s first use case is automating trailer unloading at the dock. This use case presents a difficult technical challenge that is not easily addressed by competitors. Although the loading dock is a constrained environment, it is also very complex with people and goods being moved in a constantly changing space. Fox’s deep perception technology stack enables self-driving forklifts to safely maneuver the dock and unload containers autonomously. By automating trailer unloading, companies are able to turn over loads faster, cheaper and safer which helps drive more capacity and efficiency at the choke point of the warehouse while multiplying worker productivity by 4x.

The use case around unloading trailers separates Fox from competitors and customers have been drawn to the solution with Fox now deployed at some of the largest commerce providers, grocers and shippers. The company has a broader vision to build out autonomy across the logistics industry and was smart to start with a very acute need.

It’s been a joy to work with Charles and Peter over the past two years and watching them execute and exceed plan across all vectors — technology, traction, team — we knew they were well positioned for a series A from a strong partner. We are super excited to have Mark from Menlo join the Fox team and bring their expertise to help scaling hard tech companies.

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