ShareThis Page

Pittsburgh robotics company lands $29M in funding, plans global expansion

Aaron Aupperlee
| Thursday, June 21, 2018, 1:24 p.m.
A Bossa Nova robot scans the shelves at a Walmart.
Bossa Nova
A Bossa Nova robot scans the shelves at a Walmart.

A Pittsburgh robotics company with bots already roaming the aisles of Walmart will use its largest round of funding to date to ready the company for global expansion.

Bossa Nova, a Carnegie Mellon University spinoff company, plans to expand around the world after landing $29 million in funding, said Martin Hitch, the company's chief business officer.

Hitch expects the company to add more than 80 employees to the 165 Bossa Nova already has at its offices in Pittsburgh, the Bay Area and Bentonville, Ark., the headquarters of Walmart.

Bossa Nova robots currently works in 50 Walmarts around the country.

Bossa Nova's robots move slowly — about 8 inches a second, less than half a mile per hour — down store aisles, scanning the shelves and capturing 2D and 3D images of the shelves. Data like the amount of a product on the shelves, how the products are positioned and prices are extracted from the photos. The data flows to retailers, who use it to make sure the products customers want are where they should be.

Hitch said a majority of the company's growth will be in data. The company will grow its computer vision and deep learning teams.

“That is all about data,” Hitch said. “How do I take that raw information and extract more data that is useful.”

Pittsburgh is home to the company's support and fleet management teams. Hitch said those divisions will grow into 24/7 operations.

Korean electronics giant LG is among Bossa Nova's new investors. Hitch said LG executives met with the company during their visit to Pittsburgh in November. The investment deal was already in the works at that time, but the visit allowed Bossa Nova to demo its technology in a mock store set up at the company's Strip District office.

Hitch said LG will help the company figure out the right way to take the robots global.

The latest round brings Bossa Nova's total funding to $90 million.

Aaron Aupperlee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at, 412-336-8448 or via Twitter @tinynotebook.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me