Ottonomy.IO raises $3.3M to expand network of autonomous delivery robots

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Ottonomy.IOA startup working to solve delivery problems with autonomous robots has raised $3.3 million in a seed funding round as it looks to expand its market and deploy robots to existing customers.

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Led by Bangalore-based Pi Ventures, the latest funding round included Connetic Ventures and Branded Hospitality Ventures. Sangeet Kumar, founder and CEO of Addverb Technologies from Uttar Pradesh, also joined the round.

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New York-headquartered Ottonomy.IO, founded in late 2020 by Ritukar Vijay along with Pradiot Korupolu, Ashish Gupta and Hardik Sharma, develops sensor-equipped robots, including 3D LiDAR sensors and cameras. The company, which employs about 25 people in the US and India, also writes AI software and algorithms to power sensors.

“One of the biggest challenges we are trying to solve with these autonomous delivery robots is the lack of labor,” said Vijay, chief executive of Ottonomy.IO, in an interaction with TechCrunch. He added that due to the labor shortage in the US, there is a significant increase in the hourly wage of workers – from $18 to $45 per hour from $9 to $12.

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“So, it’s almost a 100 percent increase in hourly wages, which makes it very difficult for corporate clients to provide the same services to clients that were previously provided to them. And what ends up happening is that customers start paying more for shipping.”

Ottonomy.IO’s autonomous robots are helping to meet the growing demand for last mile delivery and meet new delivery needs, including indoor and sidewalk delivery. The latter is a type of delivery in which the item is delivered to a location such as a parking lot rather than directly to the customer’s home or office address.

“This is also very labor intensive because someone has to carry goods from the store to the curb in the parking lot,” Vijay said.


Ottonomy.IO co-founders Hardik Sharma, Ashish Gupta, Ritukar Vijay, Pradyot Korupolu (left to right)

Robots built by Ottonomy.IO use highly informative mapping of serviced delivery areas to navigate and reach delivery locations to consumers. Once they reach their destination, the robots require a unique QR code, which the customer received during their order, to unlock the waiting area and receive the order, according to the startup.

Ottonomy.IO did some early pilot testing with its autonomous robots before unveiling its latest Ottobot 2.0 model. This is an evolution of the first pilot versions that includes fully customizable modular cockpits, improved customer access and directional mobility, including a crab mode that allows the robot to move sideways.

A patented robot developed by Ottonomy.IO provides better customer accessibility, the startup said.

“Even a person in a wheelchair can access the packages from the robot, which is very, very important,” Vijay said.


Ottonomy.IO robots are said to offer better customer accessibility.

The executive also told TechCrunch that the robot has the software ability to be “GPS independent” and “operate seamlessly” for both indoor and outdoor autonomous mobility.

All of these design elements and technology changes set Ottonomy.IO apart from competitors such as Starship, Kiwibot, Serve Robotics and Refraction AI, Vijay says.

“If you see other players, they are either in indoor navigation or outdoor navigation. The ability to do both opens up multiple use cases for the company,” Rupan Aulah, managing director of Pi Ventures, told TechCrunch.

Although the robots offered by Ottonomy.IO are developed in India, the company does not consider this country as its potential market.

“Our goal was not to solve a problem where there is none,” Vijay said. “Otherwise, India could be a market where clustered housing societies can still use offline supplies, but that’s not the issue because labor costs are still affordable,” he said.

Ottonomy.IO has already deployed its robots at Cincinnati International Airport and is in talks with several airports in the US and Europe to expand its business.

Vijay said the deployment of the robots at airports was also part of Ottonomy.IO’s go-to-market strategy to help them gain public attention.

The company said it is also working with top Fortune 500 retail and restaurant companies in North America to expand its market, but declined to name them. Vijay said the startup is also working with several fleet aggregators in Europe for “last mile” deliveries. Ottonomy.IO also plans to expand into the Middle East and South America during this year, the chief executive said.

Ottonomy.IO plans to channel new funds to deliver robots to customers already on board across categories including food and drink delivery, retail and last mile e-commerce.

“The next three to four or five months will be very tough for us in terms of deployment,” Vijay said. The startup also wants to expand its team. “From our point of view, Ottonomy.IO is a deep technology startup solving a global problem,” Aulah said. “Developing a product in India, even manufacturing it here and selling it all over the world, I think it’s a great story and that’s what really excites us at this company.”

Ottonomy.IO raised $1.6 million in pre-seed funding. Early investors include former Apple employees, startup founders and angel investors from markets such as Singapore, Europe, India, the Middle East and the US.

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