The $2,100-A-Month Factory Robot: Rapid Robotics Pushes To Automate Small Manufacturers, Helped By $12 Million In New Funding


Rapid Robotics cofounders Jordan Kretchmer (left) and Ruddick Lawrence Courtesy of Rapid Robotics Forget big, fancy robots. Rapid Robotics wants to spread its robots, which are inexpensive and programmed to do very simple jobs, at small manufacturers across the country. “The big brand name customers like Home Depot and Sam’s are not the customers that we are going after,” says cofounder and CEO Jordan Kretchmer. “Those are the 2%-ers. We are going after the 98%.” Its machines do simple work, like heat stamping, fastener insertion and pad printing that are basic, exacting and repetitive — and the type of jobs that small factories have had trouble hiring enough people to do.

To date, the San Francisco-based startup has deployed nearly 100 robots at clients in the Bay Area, bringing in revenue that Forbes estimates in the range of $2 million to $3 million. But it’s got plans to expand rapidly, especially at small manufacturers in the midwest and southwest, more...