Beijing-based AI solutions developer Roobo raised $53 million in a Series B funding round led by Seven Seas Partners, a Chinese VC. This is in addition to the $100 million raised last year. The managing partner of Seven Seas, Jeff Xiong Minghua, who was Tencent’s CTO for eight years, will become Roobo’s new CEO.
Founded in 2014, Roobo has become a leading Chinese A.I. solution developer, particularly their ROSAI system. ROS-AI allows for smooth interaction, language processing and communication, and SDK to allow developers to supplement the core ROSAI system with specialized apps in various home, school and office marketplacess .
The company is headquartered in Beijing with offices in Shenzhen, Suzhou and Chengdu, and in Seoul, Moscow, and Seattle. Its products include the robotic operating system ROSAI, a language processing chip, and service robots PUDDING S, PUDDING BEANQ, JELLY, and DOMGY. The PUDDING series is Roobo’s first home education and companion robot system. It is designed for kids and the two PUDDING models have sold over 100,000 units.
With this current round of funding, Roobo plans to transition from a consumer products company to an AI solutions developer. The company plans to offer integrated services including chips, design, modules, control systems, applications and cloud services to companies in the electronics, automobiles and robotics areas.
Seven Seas has invested in a variety of robotic and consumer product startups including RightHand Robotics and Lily. The reason Seven Seas put such a big bet on Roobo is that Xiong thinks it will become one of the leading companies in IoT (Internet of Things). According to Xiong, the whole team of Roobo comes from backgrounds that are related to the Internet. Also, they are extremely experienced on robotic products development. Also, Xiong thinks that the next-generation of AI Internet companies need to know how to integrate products with services. The fact that Roobo is trying to be the leading company in the area of AI Robotics really impresses Xiong.
During the big 2017 CES (Consumer Electronics Show) in Las Vegas, Roobo announced that they are collaborating with Nuance to launch a multi-language international version of their PUDDING service robot BEANQ in the near future.
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