Czech online grocery delivery startup Rohlik Group said on Thursday it will invest €400 million ($469.32 million) in warehouse automation by the end of 2025 to boost efficiency and capacity.
The company, seeking to become Europe's biggest online grocery delivery service, said in a statement it would invest €45 million in an initial phase, with further investments coming 2022-2025.
Rohlik is installing a storage-bin system with integrated robot retrieval and order-picking work stations. It will launch at its German brand Knuspr.de in Munich and raise picking productivity threefold, the company said. That will be followed by a roll-out in existing and new European markets.
Commenting on the investment, Rohlik founder, Tomáš Čupr, said, "The robot-assisted fulfilment centre in Munich, in combination with our CNG cars and soon to be introduced electric delivery vehicles, is the foundation of our unique strategy where proprietary and sustainable Rohlik technology is used to deliver fresh and top quality products to customers at home. A challenging but also very exciting project is now becoming reality."
Rohlik has said that it will expand to other German cities including Frankfurt this year followed by Hamburg, Cologne and others in 2022.
The investment comes as Rohlik pushes into new markets after raising funds in financing rounds this year that helped it expand into Germany in August. It previously expanded into Austria and Hungary.
In July, it raised €100 million from investors at a valuation of €1 billion after getting financing of €190 million in an earlier round.
Chief automation officer at Rohlik Group, Aleš Malucha, stated, "Rohlik Group dispatches hundreds of thousands of products every single day, which on some days can add up to over a million individual items. It is a mix of ambient and perishable products and, as part of our entire supply chain, they get processed in less than 60 minutes at our fulfilment centres.
"This automation provides efficiencies that give us an edge on delivering quickly and with the quality expected by our customers. We are now commencing the implementation of the AutoStore system in order to fine tune operational efficiency in real world use given our unique operational environment, with the project scheduled for completion next year."
Founded in 2014 by 38-year-old Czech internet entrepreneur Tomas Cupr, Rohlik posted turnover of over €300 million in 2020, which was also helped by the shift to online commerce amid the coronavirus pandemic.