In 2012, Dmitry Grishin, co-founder, and CEO of Mail.Ru Group, the largest Internet and social networking company in the Russian-speaking world, seeded a fund with $25 million of his own money to focus on robotic startups.
This month Grishin Robotics launched another fund with $100 million provided by institutional and individual investors from Europe and the U.S. to focus on companies involved in the “Hardware Revolution.”
Until recently, people mainly thought about robots as multi-functional products in humanoid form-factor. Today single-purpose devices, combining sensors with software and data analytics components, have the potential to radically automate the physical world around us — eliminating “dirty, dull & dangerous” tasks from our lives and, thus, realizing the ultimate purpose of robotics. The investment focus of the new fund reflects this vision, as Grishin Robotics looks to fund both hardware & software companies, driven by the six pillars of the Hardware Revolution — (1) cheaper components, (2) ubiquitous connectivity, (3) smartphone penetration, (4) 3D printing, (5) disruption of supply chain and (6) crowdfunding. By 2020, the total value of the markets driven by these changes is estimated to reach $1 trillion.
The new fund will be primarily focused on Series A & B deals, with a certain amount of capital reserved for seed and later-stage opportunities — such as Ring, a web-based video doorbell consumer product, whose Series C round was the first investment from the new fund. Grishin Robotics is looking to expand its B2B focus as well as B2C and will allocate up to $10 million over the lifecycle of portfolio startup companies.