MIT startup Pickle raises $5.75M for its package-picking robot

There’s no doubt this past year has been a major watershed moment for the robotics industry. Warehouse and logistics have been a particular target for an automation push, as companies have worked to keep the lights on amidst stay at home orders and other labor shortages.

MIT spinoff Pickle is one of the latest startups to enter the fray. The company launched with limited funding and a small team, though it’s recently changed one of these, telling TechCrunch this week that it has raised $5.57 million in funding during this hot investment streak. The seed round was led by Hyperplane and featured Third Kind Venture Capital, Box Group and Version One Ventures, among others.

The company’s making some pretty big claims around the efficacy of its first robot named, get this, “Dill” (the company clearly can’t avoid a clever name). It says the robot is capable of 1,600 picks per hour from the back of a trailer, a figure it claims is “double the speed of any competitors.”

CEO Andrew Meyer says collaboration is a key to the company’s play. “We designed people into the system from the get-go and focused on a specific problem: package handling in the loading dock. We got out of the lab and put robots to work in real warehouses. We resisted the fool’s errand of trying to create a system that could work entirely unsupervised or solve every robotics problem out there.”

Orders for the first product targeted at trailer unloading will open in June, with an expected ship date of early 2022.

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