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Symbotic sees clear path to public market

Kimberly Chin
Jun 3, 2022
Illustration of a conveyor belt with packages surrounded by shapes and dollar elements.
Illustration: Gabriella Turrisi/Axios

Symbotic, an AI and software-enabled warehouse automation company, is riding the big names behind it to the public markets.

Why it matters: The company, which is expanding into all of Walmart’s regional distribution centers, also counts Albertsons and Target as its big customers, making its path more digestible to investors.

What’s happening: The company expects to go public this month via a SoftBank-backed SPAC merger.

  • While it’s hard to time the market, its CEO Michael Loparco says, going public is still the right course for the company.
  • “We’re not running the company for the first month or the first couple of quarters. We’re building a long-term, sustainable company of incredible value, and going public was part of that plan,” Loparco says.

What we’re watching: Symbotic has plans to first address its substantial backlog of both new and existing customers.

  • The company also set its ambitions to boost its verticals in apparel, footwear, automotive and third-party logistics domestically, with the longer-term goal of expanding geographically.

State of play: Symbotic notes that retail companies are increasingly looking to automation to address labor shortage issues, growing costs and supply chain challenges.

  • From a labor perspective, automation reduces a workforce’s costs, as well as attrition and turnover while boosting safety within warehouses, Loparco says.

Details: “What our system enables is really speeding up the movement of products from the point of receipt to the point of consumption,” Michael Dunn, vice president of global sales, marketing and strategy, tells Axios.

  • It speeds up the movement of inventory through the distribution network of our customers, Loparco says, adding that it helps companies like Walmart better service their stores and customers by stepping up responsiveness and improving inventory accuracy.
  • "[It] really rethinks entirely how you can optimize a warehouse and make it more productive, more efficient,” he says.
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