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Onward Together: Our Rebrand Story

Today, IAM Robotics announced a major rebrand and name change to Onward Robotics to reflect the business’s evolution and market momentum. In this Q&A interview, CEO Lance VandenBrook gives insight into the process and what this exciting new chapter means for the company and team.

Onward and Upward

Why did you decide to rebrand the company?

Back in 2021, we saw a massive opportunity to put our decades of robotics experience and unique technology towards solving a real market pain point: helping warehouses and e-commerce fulfillment centers get orders out the door quickly, efficiently, and accurately. We recognized that current approaches in the industry didn’t utilize both the human and the robot to their full potential, so we decided to go into stealth mode as we pivoted the company and put our dozens of brilliant engineers on the case.

Less than two years later, we launched our innovative new Meet Me solution, which coordinates humans and robots as a cohesive system, enabling warehousing, logistics, and manufacturing operations to increase productivity, mitigate operational risk, and scale without adding headcount.

We’re already getting really great market traction, we’re bringing on new team members, and you can feel the team’s excitement and drive when you walk around our headquarters and see what’s happening in our innovation lab. We decided to rebrand the company to build on that momentum–both internally and externally–and to mark this exciting next chapter in our company’s evolution.

Why move away from IAM Robotics?

Not many people know this, but “IAM” actually originally stood for “Intelligent Automated Manipulation,” which was a technical description of the first product the company built: a mobile base equipped with a manipulator arm. When we decided to pivot and move on from the older solutions, we knew it made sense to move on from the legacy company name as well.

Moving Fulfillment Onward

What did the rebrand process look like?

Our team worked for about a year to execute the full rebrand of the company, including a new name, logo, website, and a complete overhaul of the “look and feel” of our company and brand. That process involved extensive market research, brainstorming sessions, the full legal trademarking process, and more. As our marketing team would be quick to tell you, some parts of the rebrand process were more fun than others. Ultimately, we wanted to move from a brand that was visually very dark and gray and felt really technical to something that is lighter, brighter, more approachable, and human – better aligned with the company and team we are today.

How did you pick the name Onward Robotics?

The name itself actually came to us relatively quickly. We knew we wanted something that captured the forward momentum of our company, while also paying tribute to the fact that we have a ton of history and expertise in our space.

Being a mobile robotics company, the theme of movement, forward motion, and moving forward came up pretty early on. We talked a lot about the pivot our company was going through, how we’re helping our clients move towards achieving their goals, and how we’re on a mission to move the fulfillment industry forward. We talked about the team and the people moving us onward and in one of the brainstorming sessions someone said, “We’re moving onward and upward.” That phrase immediately resonated with the team, so Onward Robotics was born and it felt really good as soon as we landed on it.

“Onward Robotics better reflects the organization’s strong forward trajectory, our bold and purposeful team, and most importantly, our commitment to moving our clients and the global supply chain forward.”

CEO Lance VandenBrook

What does the new logo represent?

The new logo features an “O” for Onward, but I love how it also symbolizes forward movement up and to the right, almost like a rocket ship. Another cool easter egg is that the logo looks a little bit like a fingerprint. One of our core values is Client First, which means always keeping the people buying and using our products top of mind. As a people-focused robotics company, we thought the hidden fingerprint was a nice touch.

How is Onward Robotics moving the fulfillment industry onward?

Downtime in order fulfillment means wasted time and money: two things no warehouse can afford. Our new Meet Me solution coordinates humans and robots as a cohesive system – we truly believe our unique approach is going to revolutionize the fulfillment industry. We come to work every day to help warehousing, logistics, and manufacturing operations across the supply chain increase productivity, mitigate operational risk, and scale their operations.

What’s Next for Onward Robotics?

What’s next and what are you most excited about?

After a few years in stealth mode, it’s been really exciting and rewarding to see the excitement and buzz in the market since we launched our new solution. We’ve got a brilliant team solving a really critical piece of the global supply chain – the best part is that we’re just getting started.

“I’m inspired every day by the bold and gritty Onward Robotics team. I’m incredibly proud of the momentum we’ve built, the way we’re solving hard problems with innovative technology, and the way we’re moving onward and upward–together.”

Can I join the team moving fulfillment Onward?

Short answer: Yes! Every member of the Onward Robotics team is critical to our success, whether they’re fine-tuning software in our engineering lab, helping the business run smoothly in an administrative function, or deploying our solution to solve real client pain points. I hope you’ll join us on our mission as we move fast, think big, and have fun.

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