Ocado Group has reached an agreement with Shopify to acquire 6 River Systems.
The sale of the US collaborative autonomous mobile robot (AMR) fulfilment solutions provider to the British online grocery software and robotics platform business comes nearly four years after it was acquired in September 2019 for US$450m by the Canadian e-commerce company – which itself announced a 25% increase in revenue and a 20% decrease in staff following the sales of its logistics arm.
Based in Massachusetts, USA, 6 River Systems was founded in 2015 and provides robotic fulfilment solutions to the logistics and non-grocery retail sectors.
Since then, the company’s ‘Chuck’ AMR model, which provides automated assistance to pickers, has reportedly been deployed in more than 100 warehouses worldwide to more than 70 customers.
James Matthews, CEO of Ocado Technology, said: “We are delighted to welcome new colleagues to the Ocado family.
“6 River Systems brings exciting new IP and possibilities to the wider Ocado technology estate, as well as valuable commercial and R&D expertise in non-grocery retail segments.”
A statement released by 6 River Systems read: “After nearly four years of innovating and growing under Shopify, we’re excited to join forces with Ocado to continue accelerating growth for our customers and products.”
Yesterday [04 May], Shopify offloaded Shopify Logistics to freight forwarder Flexport in an all-stock deal that sees Shopify gain approximately 13% equity in Flexiport, on top of its existing shares.
Shopify’s job cuts come less than three months after Harley Finkelstein, president of the Ottawa-based firm, told Canadian media, “There’s no cuts coming for us.”
In its Q1 2023, Shopify reported US$1.5bn in revenue, up 25% year-on-year, and earnings of US$0.05 per share. Net income rose from a US$1.47bn loss this time last year to US$68m in profit for the quarter.
Shopify is the latest in long line of technology companies that have cut jobs in the past year or so. According to layoffs.fyi, some 1,056 companies cut 164,576 jobs last year. And in 2023, 646 companies reportedly cut 187,022 jobs.
Shopify CEO Tobi Lütke said in a public memo to staff: “We are changing the shape of Shopify significantly today to pay unshared attention to our mission.
“There are a number of consequences to this, and I don’t want to bury the lede: after today Shopify will be smaller by about 20% and Flexport will buy Shopify Logistics; this means some of you will leave Shopify today.
Lütke also suggested that developments in AI had played a part in the company’s decision to adjust its business strategy. “Technological progress always arcs towards simplicity, and entrepreneurs succeed more when we simplify,” he said.
“But now we are at the dawn of the AI era and the new capabilities that are unlocked by that are unprecedented.
“Shopify has the privilege of being amongst the companies with the best chances of using AI to help our customers. A copilot for entrepreneurship is now possible. Our main quest demands from us to build the best thing that is now possible, and that has just changed entirely.”