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Retail and logistics: e-commerce is reshaping the industry

Grande distribution Logistique Exotec

With the rise of e-commerce, the mass retail sector is undergoing profound changes. Some innovative companies are taking advantage of this, such as Exotec, a French company that specialises in building order preparation systems for logistics warehouses in the retail sector. Experts at AURIS Finance, a mergers and acquisitions consultancy, give you their analysis.

It is now one of the few French industrial unicorns. Founded in 2015, Exotec currently employs 350 people and plans to double its workforce by the end of the year. It must be said that this company, founded in the north of France, uses technology that is of great interest to major retailers. At a time when working conditions in the warehouses of digital giants such as Amazon have come under heavy criticism, Exotec’s solution offers real optimisation of the supply chain. Thanks to robots that can move in three dimensions, workers no longer have to walk up and down warehouse aisles. The system is equipped with software that orchestrates the system, using advanced algorithms to select the order to be assembled, and send the robots to pick up bins or trays in the warehouse and bring the items to the operator stations. Exotec guarantees that this technology enables operators to “get orders out as quickly as possible”.

The pandemic has accelerated the development of e-commerce

The robots marketed by Exotec have already won over a large number of retailers. Some thirty in all, including Leclerc, Cdiscount, Décathlon, Monoprix, Gap in the United States and Uniqlo in Japan. The group’s turnover target for 2021 is €105 million. Revenue growth accelerated with the pandemic boosting online purchases. This trend is expected to continue into 2022, as many major retailers have launched strategic digital transformation plans.

A €200 million turnover for Exotec by the end of 2022

Spurred on by the boom in e-commerce, Exotec aims to double its turnover by 2022. For the time being, the French company, whose technology is protected by five international patents, has one major competitor: the listed Norwegian company Autostore, valued at $12 billion. The global order preparation market, estimated at $270 million in 2021, is set to grow to $3 billion by 2025, an analyst told the French newspaper Les Echos.

A $2 billion valuation

To support its rapid growth, Exotec has raised several rounds of funding. The latest, for €292 million, brings the group’s total valuation to two billion dollars, twice the limit for unicorns. The financing was provided by Goldman Sachs. A windfall that will allow the French unicorn to support its development ambitions. The group’s founders have stated that they want to become “the world leader in warehouse robotics”.

Get the support you need

In just a few years, disruptive technology companies like Exotec have grown exponentially. For these tech jewels, the search for funding remains key. And those that are able to attract investors as quickly as possible will benefit from a decisive time-to-market.
AURIS Finance’s sector specialists can help you find the funding you need.

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