The British group Ocado announced that it intends to acquire the Greek start-up Myrmex-Inc, which deals with the development and implementation of Material Handling robotics, for about 10.2 million euros, in order to accelerates the development of intelligent management systems of the Ocado Smart Platform.

The two companies have agreed the terms of the transaction and the acquisition is expected to be completed by June 6, 2022.

It was preceded by the acquisition of a minority stake in Myrmex Inc. by Ocado in October 2020, entrusting the Greek company with the design and development of an exclusive solution for automating the loading of standard boxes, which include customer orders, in frames / wheeled shelves to consumers.

This is the “Automated Frameload” solution (AFL) presented in January 2022 at the Ocado Re: Imagined event, as one of the seven most critical innovations to be adopted at Ocado’s automated collection and order preparation centers (CFCs) within the year .

“A team of over 30 people from Myrmex with deep know-how in the field of hardware and software automation will join the 2,500 strong team of technologists at Ocado Technology,” the statement said.

Personalized automation solutions

The acquisition of Myrmex will bring the AFL to Ocado Group’s global CFC network rapidly, opening up new opportunities for the development of personalized automation solutions for the Ocado Smart Platform.

James Gralton, Chief Engineering Officer at Ocado Technology, said: “We are excited to welcome Myrmex to the Ocado Group. We are impressed with Myrmex’s capabilities and its ability to design, develop and market innovative solutions. The collaboration between the Ocado Group and Myrmex led to the release of the Automated Frameload (AFL) in just over a year. “This acquisition is another important step in our journey into automation and provides the opportunity for further development and expansion of our mechanical presence in Southern Europe, as we continue to invest in the development of Myrmex technologies for the Ocado smart platform.”

George Katiniotis, CEO of Myrmex said: “We are excited to be a member of the Ocado Group. For the past 20 months, we have been impressed with Ocado Group’s subversive products, cutting-edge technology, visionary leadership and talented people. “I’m proud to see our intellectual property and our excellent team of engineers recognized by the world leader in online grocery and I’m excited about the journey ahead.”

Who are Ocado and Myrmex?

Ocado, listed on the London Stock Exchange, started about 20 years ago as an online supermarket and a few years later transformed into a technology provider providing end-to-end online automated ordering solutions for the world’s largest retail chains, holding a 50% stake in the United Kingdom. Ocado has been constantly innovating for the last two decades, investing in and using robotic, artificial intelligence and Machine Learning technologies.

Myrmex Inc., was founded in 2015 in the USA, and operates a research and technology center in Athens. It claims that the combined solution of intelligent robotic systems in combination with  standard boxes and wheeled shelves allow e-commerce to achieve an excellent customer experience and lower operating costs than the traditional network of physical stores.

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