March 2017 had 29 robotics-related startups saw funding totaling over $222 million – another solid month for 2017 and $658 million year-to-date. Acquisitions also continued to be substantial with Intel's eye-popping $15 billion acquisition of Israeli Mobileye. Plus there were three IPOs.
- Corindus Vascular Robotics, already an over-the-counter stock, raised $45 million in a private placement of 68 million shares at $0.6616/share. Corindus is FDA approved to use robotic devices in coronary intervention procedures such as placing stents in arteries.
- Farmer's Business Network, a Silicon Valley platform that collects, analyses, and shares data from farmers, raised $40 million in Series C funding. GV and DBL Partners led the round, with additional participation from Bow Capital, Acre Venture Partners, and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.
- Medrobotics, a Massachusetts surgical robot startup, raised $20 million in a Series H round of funding from 12 unnamed investors. Medrobotics developed the Flex robot-assisted surgical platform which won CE Mark approval in 2016 and a partial approval from the FDA for throat procedures.
- Wayray, a Swiss startup developing a software and a holographic AR add-on device for navigation in self-driving cars, raised $18 million in a Series B round led by Alibaba subsidiary Banma Technologies.
- EasyMile, a French startup specializing in mobility solutions for autonomous vehicles, raised $15 million in a Series A funding from Alstom, the international mobil transportation company.
- Endomaster, a Singapore-based medical robotics spin-off from Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and the National University of Singapore (NUS), has closed a $14.6 million Series B funding round. No investors were disclosed. Existing investors are NTUitive Pte and Japan’s Hoya Corporation. Endomaster is a robotic-assisted surgical system that combines minimally invasive endoscopic surgery with intuitive robotic-assisted surgery.
- Beijing Geekplus Technology (Geek+), a Chinese startup developing a goods-to-man warehousing system of robots and software very similar to Kiva System’s products, raised $14.5 million in a Series A funding round led by Singapore’s Vertex Ventures, Volcanic Stone Capital and Banyan Capital. 300 of Geek+’s robots are already at work in e-commerce, retail and manufacturing in China and Alibaba’s TMall in particular.
- Drone Delivery, a Canadian startup developing a commercially viable drone delivery system for Canada, raised around $8.1 million from the issuance of a private placement of special warrants.
- RightHand Robotics, a Cambridge, MA-based robotic picking solutions provider, raised $8 million in a Series A funding from Playground Global, Matrix Partners, Seven Seas Partners, Dream Incubator and angel investors. RightHand is launching its new RightPick gripper which combines a vacuum stick with fingers to quickly pick and grasp individual items.
“RightHand Robotics has created a transformative technology combining machine learning and smart hardware to address a tremendous opportunity in the logistics industry,” says investor Andy Rubin, Founder and CEO at Playground Global. “For the first time, affordable industrial robots can grasp things they have never seen before.”
- Chowbotics, a San Jose, CA startup recently renamed from Casabots, raised $5 million in Series A funding from Techstars Ventures, Foundry Group, Galvanize Ventures and the Geekdom Fund. Chowbotics is developing robots that can prepare and plate ready-to-eat meals.
- Sarcos, a Utah-based provider of military exoskeletons, added Schlumberger to their list of Series A funders previously reported in 2016 and added $5 million to their take in a second closing of the round.
- XACT Robotics, an Israeli startup developing a robotic surgical assistant for brain needle navigation, raised $5 million in a Series B round led by investment company MEDX Ventures Group.
- SB Drive, a Tokyo-based autonomous vehicle startup subsidiary of SoftBank and Advanced Smart Mobility, raised $4.6 million in a Series A funding to develop autonomous vehicle technology for public transport. Yahoo! Japan led the round, and was joined by SoftBank.
- Arable Labs, a Princeton, N.J. ag industry startup for in-field crop monitoring and analytics, raised $4.25 million in Series A funding. Middleland Capital and S2G Ventures led the round, with participation from Chase Field, Spark Labs and Cantos VC.
- Starsky Robotics, a San Francisco self-driving trucking startup, raised $3.75m from Y-Combinator, Sam Altman, Trucks VC, Data Collective and a few others in a seed round. On February 3, 2017 one of Starsky's trucks hauled a 5,000-lb load 140 miles, and drove itself for 120 of those miles. Their system was also used to driverlessly move trailers around a truck yard.
- Flytrex, an Israeli startup making drone components, raised $3 million in a Series A funding led by Armada Investments and private angel investors Daniel Gutenberg and Joey Low.
- ShadeCraft, a Pasadena, Calif. robotics startup of an autonomous robotic shade that tracks the sun and is solar powered, raised $2 million in seed funding from undisclosed sources.
- CrowdAI, a startup providing image analytics for drones and self-driving car systems as a service, raised $2 million in seed funding from Susa Ventures, Box Group, SV Angel, Metamorphic and Yahoo founder Jerry Yang’s AME Cloud.
- No Isolation, a Norwegian startup providing robotic avatars to disabled children via schools and municipalities, raised $1.4 million from telecom giant Telia and PR firm Trigger. No Isolation plans to sell and ship 500 AV1 robots into Norwegian schools this year.
- Beehex, an Ohio 3D pizza printing startup, raised $1 million in a seed funding led by Grote Company founder, Jim Grote. Grote is a worldwide manufacturer of food-processing equipment.
- Novarc Technologies, a Vancouver, BC industrial robot startup, raised $750k in a seed round led by Seaspan ULC with participation from BDC Capital. Novarc builds robotic systems that do pipe welding for shipbuilding.
- CBot Construction Robotics, a Swedish startup, raised $656k in venture funding from unknown sources. Cbot robots have been developed to lay flat major surfaces, such as floors in supermarkets, malls and airports. With the help of sensors and artificial intelligence Cbot's floor robot can replace the human labor for this activity.
- AirZaar, a St. Louis, MO startup providing preflight planning and postflight analytics for drone operators and industry clients, raised $350k in a seed round from Quake Capital Partners.
- Inka Robotics, an Israeli startup developing an autonomous tattooing robot, raised $100k from an unnamed angel investor.
- Emoshape, a UK startup, raised $45k from Quake Capital Partners, a NYC accelerator. Emoshape has evolved through a failed emotion-recognizing device to an emotion processing chip undergoing testing by two Fortune 500 companies.
- Flyte, a Belfast, Ireland drone flight planning software startup, raised $24k in seed funding from STARTPlanetNI, COLMAN EQUITY, PROPEL, and Invest Northern Ireland.
- Blue Workforce, a Danish startup making a Delta-like robot, raised an undisclosed double-digit million dollar amount from a Chinese investor group who will become a minority partner in Blue Workforce and controlling partner in a new Blue Workforce Asia Pacific venture to be located in Hong Kong.
- Medineering Surgical Robots, a German startup, raised an undisclosed amount from a Series A round led by Brainlab and three funders from the seed round.
- SkySquirrel Technologies, a Canadian drone/analytics ag startup, raised an undisclosed non-equity funding from The Pearse Lyons Accelerator.
- Intel announced plans to acquire Israel-based Mobileye, a developer of vision technology used in autonomous driving applications, for $15.3 billion. Mobileye share prices jumped from $47 to $61 (the tender offering price is $63.54) on the news, a 30% premium. The purchase marks the largest acquisition of an Israeli hi-tech company ever.
- CobotsGuide, a website, was acquired by Productive Robotics, a Southern California startup builder of co-bots, for an undisclosed amount. The chief writer of the guide is now the marketing director for the co-bot company which is launching their new OB-7 mobile warehouse robot at the Promat/Automate show in Chicago.
- Trio Motion Technology, aTewkesbury, UK motion control components manufacturer, was acquired by Nanjing, China-based Estun Automation for $19 million. Estun’s industrial robots and AC servo systems plus Trio’s motion control systems will enable the combined company to provide complex motion control solutions.
- UUV Aquabotix Ltd, an Austrailian corporation, has filed an IPO (in Australia) to sell 25 million shares at $0.15 cents/share in the hopes of raising $19 million. UUV Aquabotix will then market, manage and operate AquaBotix Technology’s Massachusetts-based business. According to the prospectus, Aquabotix Technology had 2016 sales of $840k, an increase of 80% over 2015.
- Ecovacs Robotics Co Ltd, a Chinese IDG Capital-backed robot vacuum maker, has filed with China Securities Regulatory Commission to list on the Shanghai Stock Exchange, the China Money Network (CMN) reported. Based in Jiangsu province, Ecovacs claims to be China’s top robot home appliances maker with a 65% market share, and currently has over 5,000 employees. Companies in China must wait in queue for multiple years after they file an IPO prospectus as there are currently over 800 companies in the pipeline waiting to be permitted to complete their listings.
- X-Fab Silicon Foundries, a German sensor and chipmaker, is seeking to raise about $530 million in an IPO on Paris Euronext, according to Bloomberg. BNP Paribas SA and HSBC Bank PLC are the lead underwriters on the offering. X-Fab makes pressure sensors, optical encoders, flow meters and other sensors used in industrial robotics.
- Titan Aerospace, a Google acquisition
- BioRob Bionic Robotics GmbH
Although more people are reading The Robot Report, very few are paying for it. Advertising revenues don’t really cover costs and unlike many others, I haven’t put up a paywall. The Robot Report’s independent reporting and compilations, directories and global maps of companies and institutions involved in making robots, takes a lot of time, money and hard work which I do because I believe the focus I’ve set – tracking the business of robotics – matters. I hope it matters to you too and that you will make a contribution by clicking the donate button.