Instock launches from stealth

Rebecca Dyer

··3 mins

We are excited to announce the public launch of Instock Inc, a venture-backed startup delivering the first fully as-a-Service Automated Storage and Retrieval Solution (ASRS) for micro-fulfillment operations. Our $4M Seed funding was co-led by One Way Ventures and Lux Capital, followed by Commerce VC. We appreciate the tremendous support of investors who share our vision of building an automation ecosystem and support our mission to radically simplify 3-dimensional goods-to-person automation through Robotics-as-a-Service (RaaS).

Instock robot

From backroom shelves to tall storage racking, optimizing space in three dimensions has been evolving since the warehouses of ancient Rome. In the 1960s ASRS technology ushered in combinations of software and hardware to automatically place and retrieve materials from defined storage locations. However, by 2020 this technology was still long marked by extremely high up-front costs, complex hardware that is costly to maintain, and system requirements that often demand significant infrastructure changes or new facilities to accommodate them. Moreover, users were asked to commit to (pay for!) sizable system capacity on day 1 that may or may not serve estimated business needs of that exact physical location years down the road.

From more than a decade spent working hand in hand with retailers around the world, our team has seen first-hand that businesses need more from this type of technology. We experienced a strong need for a solution that could provide a deeper level of flexibility to meet both current needs and future unknowns, reliably move operations that might run 24/7 and be widely accessible without betting the farm. Simply put a goods-to-person subscription or Robotics-as-a-Service (RaaS). The design principles of market offerings did not make this feasible. So? We went back to the drawing board to build it ourselves.

Instock robot with bin

In the matrix of possibilities, we held to three core tenets. First β€” make it software. Hardware can be hard for a reason, so we intentionally shifted a number of traditionally-hardware problems into the realm of software. Our grid is static, hyper modular and tremendously affordable to install or even move. Our robot is singular in design, can do every task in any location, and is 100% autonomous. The interface between the grid and the robot is also as simple as it can get: just a wheel on a flat surface. With fully decoupled static and dynamic elements, a world of possibilities emerges. And how do our robots drive on walls and ceilings? Well, it’s a magnet β€” just not your refrigerator kitchen magnet πŸ™ƒ

Our second tenet β€” simulation first. Seeing is believing and virtual reality is low risk β€” so we start by doing everything in our high-fidelity simulator. What are the varied dimensions of your space? What are your storage density and throughput needs? How will it all come together? From initial design to upgrades or changes, we simulate it first so you can see an accurate representation of what will happen in real life. After all, the software that runs in our simulator is the same one running on our fleet of robots.

Finally, we enable self-service. We believe that a self-service level of productization is the bar to support end users. Our design is for straightforward preventative, predictive and corrective maintenance that can be done by a lay user. We aim to empower organizations from key decision-makers to everyday operators with an accessible tool that improves goods-to-person operational efficiency, accuracy, and productivity.

In summary, we’re a team of engineers and operators with a passion for simplicity and delighting our customers. Want to see for yourself? Reach out to Book a demo or drop us a note at