What’s behind Shopify’s acquisition, revealed late Monday, for warehouse fulfillment tech company 6 River Systems? One word: Robotics.
The deal slots into the retail platform’s new Shopify Fulfillment Network, which debuted this summer. The system’s goal is to help merchants with deliveries, shipping costs and related customer service.
According to Shopify, “adding 6 River Systems’ cloud-based software and collaborative mobile robots called Chucks to the Shopify fulfillment network will increase the speed and reliability of warehouse operations.”
Comparisons to Amazon abound, with Shopify typically positioned as a burgeoning rival to the e-commerce giant. The latest deal might cement that narrative: Shopify pointed out that the founders of 6 River Systems hail from Kiva Systems, a business that eventually became Amazon Robotics. It’s hard to see this as anything other than Shopify scooping up the robotic chops that drive one of the world’s most powerful tech and retail empires.
Under the terms of the deal, Shopify will acquire the Waltham, Mass., start-up for $450 million, with the breakout of roughly 60 percent cash and 40 percent in Shopify shares. The retail company expects to close the transaction in the fourth quarter.
The deal follows a note on Monday from finance and investment firm R.W. Baird, which told investors that, by sales volume, Shopify is on track to usurp eBay’s spot as the second-largest e-commerce platform in the U.S., after Amazon.
According to the announcement, 6 River Systems will also continue serving its warehouse tech to partners, including Lockheed Martin, DHL and Office Depot. Its systems are currently in more than 20 facilities in North America and Europe.