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HomeTechFetch founder Melonee Wise joins Agility Robotics at CTO

Fetch founder Melonee Wise joins Agility Robotics at CTO


We’ve discussed Agility quite a bit over the years. Most recently, it was a focus on the Oregon company’s pressure to commercialize. There’s no doubt that the technology here is impressive. That much was clear when it was still an OSU research project. The road to the market, on the other hand, was difficult.

A Ford partnership focused on last-mile delivery bore little fruit, so the booming world of warehouse handling and logistics beckoned. In addition to piloting a new main-sport version of its bipedal robot, the company has been looking for new people lately. In March, I had a meeting with the new COO, Aindrea Campbell, who previously worked at Apple and Ford. Last year, Agility also appointed a new CFO (Renuka Ayer) and CCO (Rich Bohne).

Today it is announcing a new CTO which should be read as another vote of confidence for its warehouse ambitions. Melonee Wise was the co-founder and CEO of Fetch Robotics until its sale to Zebra Technologies in 2021. In the intervening years, she served as Zebra’s VP of Robotics Automation.

“Today, we are thrilled to conclude this incredible year of leadership growth by welcoming industry luminary and renowned roboticist Melonee Wise to the team as our new CTO,” said Agility co-founder and CEO Damion Shelton in a prepared statement.

Image Credits: TechCrunch

A release linked to the news notes that “Melonee has as much (or more) experience building and deploying robot fleets than just about anyone else on the planet.” A case could certainly be made. Wise is a former Willow Garage executive who spearheaded what would become one of the best robot logistics systems in the game. Presumably she will help Agility focus more on interoperability and the wider robot ecosystem as the warehouse appears to integrate into existing systems.

With Wise in the role of CTO, co-founder Jonathan Hurst – the robotics professor whose Cassie project would evolve into Digit – becomes CRO – which is obviously Chief Robotics Officer. The company writes,

He has therefore changed his title from CTO to CRO to better reflect his day-to-day work: setting Agility’s research and development roadmap, cultivating the innovation pipeline, leading Digit’s industrial design and nurturing of the company’s overall brand identity.

All of these moves are funded by some impressive raises. In April, the company announced a $150 million Series B, bringing its total funding to date to $180 million.

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