Augmented reality supply chain company Ox has secured $3.5 million in seed funding that is intended to expand the company’s operations.
Formerly known as Oculogx, Ox obtained the funding in a seed round led by Mac Venture Capital and Cortado Ventures, along with Revolution’s Rise of the Rest Seed Fund, Vuzik, Florida Funders, KCRise Fund and Willow Growth Partners.
Obtaining seed funding was essential in continuing to grow the the company, according to Ox founder and CEO Charu Thomas. The funding is set to be used to expand operations, as the company grows its team, and to invest in partnerships.
“I realized that in order to keep up with the massive and ever-growing retail market, traditional supply chains needed help catching up to the competition,” Thomas said in a statement. “This is when I began developing an AR platform for warehouse order picking. I had previously worked in a warehouse, so I knew how to best optimize the systems that were already in place while using my background in hardware prototyping and software development to create something entirely new. Oxprovides its customers with a seamless experience for maximizing efficiency in all areas of fulfillment, from tailored onboarding of employees to real-time built-in associate messaging.”
According to Thomas, a “general rule of thumb” is that seed funding will typically sustain startups for approximately 18 to 24 months of operations. While noting that a discussion on future funding was for the future, Thomas stated that Ox was committed to growth.
As the company grows, Thomas said that she will be focusing on building partnerships and making inroads to establish Ox’s presence in the retail market. While she said she will continue to be involved in the engineering side, growing the company will enable the team to increasingly specialize in their responsibilities.
“As a startup, you have to wear a lot of hats,” she said. “Now we can double down on the things that we are the best at. For me personally, that means I will probably be building and [working] on the long-range view…,” she said.
Currently, Ox has approximately eight employees, Thomas said.
Thomas brought Ox to Arkansas during the first Fuel Accelerator, held in Northwest Arkansas after founding the company as a Georgia Institute of Technology undergraduate. She established the company in Bentonville and was named to Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list.
Ox provides a platform, which integrates with companies’ existing order management systems, that enables them to convert brick-and-mortar stores to “micro-distribution centers” with pick-from-store capabilities. According to Thomas, companies using Ox’s platform have had 12 million order successfully fulfilled with a 3,600 percent return on investment.
“When seeking out next-generation investments, we look for technology capable of disrupting antiquated industries,” Mac Venture Capital general partner Michael Palank said. “Very few companies are capitalizing on supply chain logistics and order fulfillment for simple but crucial tasks such as online grocery shopping. Ox is disrupting the retail industry by not only helping companies make the most of tools they already have but giving them the tools they need to work smarter than the competition.”
Ox officially announced its name change from Oculogx to Ox in January 2021. The original name, she told Arkansas Money & Politics, was difficult and pronounce and spell.