Oct 22, 2020

Our Investment in Ware

With the explosion of e-commerce, the size (footprint) of newly-built warehouses has more than doubled over the past 20 years - to nearly 200,000 sq. ft.

Paul Sethi

And with the average height of over 30 ft., you’re talking an average 6,000,000 cu. ft. of goods being tracked - per new facility!

How is all that inventory tracked and monitored?  Well, most of the 500,000 warehouses in the US still manually track inventory, a human capital-intensive process.*

The main pain points: inventory inaccuracies, and of course, inefficiencies due to the cost of manual labor.  This is even more pronounced during the current  pandemic; with a greater need for a sustainable global supply chain, these warehouses are working double time to keep up with demand, while importantly keeping employees safe (read: limited staffing).  

Enter Ware - a machine intelligence warehouse disruptor, leveraging drones and computer vision, initially to automate inventory management and provide key inventory data insights within warehouses.

Today, we are proud to announce our investment in San Francisco-based Ware’s seed round, led by UP Partners and alongside Bloomberg Beta (who introduced us to the Ware team), AI Sprouts, and strategic angels, including Skydio CEO, Adam Bry.

Ware co-founders Ian Smith (CEO) and Joseph Moster (CTO) have the deepest understanding of drones’ capabilities, having been in the aerospace and drone industries for a significant portion of their careers - and they’re uniquely leveraging that to solve for a gargantuan pain point.  Ian led Business Development at DroneDeploy for nearly 4 years, and has been Advisory Board Member for the Commercial UAV Expo.  Joe most recently worked on Uber’s self-driving program, and previously worked at Airware, focused on unmanned aerial systems.  Both Ian and Joe walk through walls, with the goal of realizing their grand vision of transforming warehouse inventory logistics.Out of the gate, Ware’s supply chain optimization platform utilizes machine learning and drones to efficiently track inventory and automate warehouse tasks.  Ware is utilizing drones to capture data within an entire warehouse facility, which their ML algorithms are able to quickly analyze.  Their cloud-based platform is able to analyze inventory status, view audit history of all inventory, and generate inventory reports.  They are easily able to integrate within existing WMSs (warehouse management systems), and their drones can operate without extensive on-site implementation lifts.  In fact, throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Ware has begun the process of deploying their systems into new customer facilities remotely.

Direct from the company, automating warehouse cycle counts with Ware is a 3-step process:

  1. Self-flying drones soar throughout the warehouse, collecting images of pallet locations, data from barcodes, and other inventory information.
  2. With their pre-programmed flight pattern completed, the drones return to their “Nests” inside the warehouse, where they auto-recharge and transmit their cargo of inventory data to Ware’s cloud.
  3. Ware’s processing engine analyzes the drone imagery, distills the data, and delivers it into an easy-to-use format.  Interactive reports in Ware’s cloud software are provided to inventory control teams, to make decisions with and take action on.

Stay tuned for more, as we cannot be more excited to be on the Ware journey with Ian and Joe!

* Yes, we all read about robotics, but this is largely cost-prohibitive and disruptive for inventory tracking and management (vs. picking and packing).

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