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HomeTechShopify sells 6 River Systems to new owner

Shopify sells 6 River Systems to new owner


Shopify announced last week that it would be the latest major tech company to face mass layoffs. The company is cutting 20% ​​of its 11,600 employees. The news came amid earnings that beat Wall Street expectations, sending the stock price skyrocketing.

The announcement also included news that the Canadian e-commerce giant had found a new owner for 6 River Systems, the warehouse automation company it bought for nearly half a billion dollars in 2019. It was about as good of timing as anyone could ask for. The category has been on the rise over the past decade, but during the pandemic, things really started to accelerate – and 6 River had a healthy five-year lead.

But Shopify eventually decided to let go of 6 River between broader losses. Shopify CEO Tobias Lütke didn’t address the sale directly in his open letter about the layoffs. However, he addressed Shopify Logistics’ related sale to Flexport, noting:

Shopify’s main mission is to make commerce simpler, easier, more democratized, more participatory, and more commonplace. I think we built the best trading platform in the world for that. Technological progress always moves towards simplicity, and entrepreneurs succeed more when we simplify. But now we are at the dawn of the AI ​​era and the new possibilities it unlocks are unprecedented. Shopify is privileged to be one of the companies with the best opportunities to use AI to help our customers. A co-pilot for entrepreneurship is now possible. Our main quest is asking us to build the best that’s possible right now, and that just completely changed.

Clearly, the acquisition of 6 River was part of building the logistics side of the business by providing sellers with automated 3PL. Ocado Group, an English grocery technology licensor, will become the robot company’s new parent company.

“We are excited to welcome new colleagues to the Ocado family. 6 River Systems brings exciting new IP and capabilities to the broader Ocado technology space, as well as valuable commercial and R&D expertise in non-grocery segments,” said Ocado CEO James Matthews in a release. “Chuck robots are currently deployed in more than 100 warehouses worldwide, with more than 70 customers, we look forward to supporting 6 River Systems as they build on these and new relationships in the years to come.”

Questions remain about the deal. As 6 River co-founder/VP of Shopify Logistics, Jerome Dubois, recently told me in an interview, the robotics company struck a deal with Shopify that allowed it to continue providing systems to customers. That list, which featured Ocado, was a far cry from Amazon’s Kiva deal, which suddenly left customers unable to access robotic systems.

Dubois says it had the talk “beforehand,” adding: “We had a strong positive trajectory; we had strong investors. Everyone was very optimistic about it. That’s not what it’s been. It’s been the opposite . We are run independently of Shopify. We continue to invest and grow the business.”

That conversation took place at the end of March. Economic headwinds have a way of quickly shifting these things.

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