Rockwell Automation signs agreement to acquire Waterloo-based Clearpath Robotics

Clearpath’s mission statement is to automate “the world’s dullest, dirtiest, and deadliest jobs.”

Milwaukee, Wis.-based Rockwell Automation has signed an agreement to acquire Kitchener-based robotics development company Clearpath Robotics, including its industrial division, OTTO Motors.

The agreement was announced Sept. 5, but no terms have been disclosed. In a press release, Rockwell said the acquisition “will be funded by a portion of the proceeds from the sale of Rockwell’s investment in PTC.”

Clearpath Robotics was founded by four University of Waterloo graduates in 2009.

Last month, Rockwell announced it had completed its financial exit from software firm PTC, generating an estimated $822 million USD from the sale of its shares.

Founded in 2009 by a quartet of graduates from University of Waterloo’s mechatronics engineering program, Clearpath Robotics’ mission statement is to automate “the world’s dullest, dirtiest, and deadliest jobs.”

Clearpath followed its $14-million CAD Series A in March 2015, led by RRE Ventures alongside participation from iNovia Capital, with the launch of OTTO, its warehouse-focused autonomous mobile robotics (AMR) division in September 2015.

Since then, Clearpath has been on a steady upward trajectory, securing a $39-million Series B in 2016 and a $45-million Series C in 2020. In 2022, KW-based tech hub Communitech added Clearpath to its list of privately-held Canadian tech firms on pace to hit $1 billion in annual revenue.

RELATED: Waterloo robotics startup Clearpath extends Series C with $6.6 million CAD

Rockwell Automation specializes in industrial and warehouse automation, with offerings including fixed robotic arms, automation software, and programmable logic controllers. The controllers are used to dictate how an automated process is programmed and executed.

According to the Rockwell Automation’s website, the company has roots spanning over a century. Founded as an electrical component manufacturer in 1903, the Compression Rheostat Company eventually became the Allen‑Bradley Company, which was purchased by Rockwell International in 1985. The company officially became Rockwell Automation in 2001.

According to a press release, Clearpath will “report to” Rockwell’s Intelligent Devices operating segment once the deal is closed.

Regarding the acquisition, Rockwell said in a press release that “the addition of OTTO Motors’ AMR capabilities will create a complete portfolio of advanced material handling solutions unmatched in the industry.”

Details about Clearpath’s future operations, location, leadership, and staffing under the merger are not yet known. BetaKit has reached out to Rockwell Automation for comment.

Clearpath isn’t Rockwell’s first Canadian acquisition. In 2020, Rockwell acquired Toronto-based Fiix, a platform with computerized management systems for the scheduling, organizing, and tracking of equipment maintenance.

Image courtesy of Clearpath Robotics

Alex Riehl

Alex Riehl

Alex Riehl is a staff writer and newsletter curator at BetaKit with a Bachelor of Journalism from Carleton University. He's interested in tech, gaming, and sports. You can find out more about him at or @RiehlAlex99 on Twitter.

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