May was another big month of money flowing into robotic ventures. But May was even bigger in launching new robotics-focused venture funding groups.
EQUITY DEALS AND IPOs:
Wonder Workshop (formerly Play-i) raised $6.9M in a Series A funding round for scaling up and production of their Dot and Dash robot programming learning system.
Corindus Vascular Robotics raised $42 million from an IPO which moved their over-the-counter stock to the NYSE MKT index, a special marketplace for small-cap growth stocks.
Chinese drone maker SZ DJI Innovations (DJI) raised $75M to build an industrial-grade UAV developer platform to supplement their successful drone making business. They also partnered with VC Accel Partners to set up a new UAS venture fund, SkyFund (see below).
Danish co-bot maker Universal Robots got acquired for $350M by American Teradyne, a provider of electronic testing equipment.
Boeing Defense, Space & Security acquired 2D3 Sensing, a 40-person UK video and image processing sensor manufacturer subsidiary of OMG, for $25M.
Airware Founder and CEO Jonathan Downey started a new fund to help UAS-related startups grow their businesses. The new fund, Commercial Drone Fund, has already invested in RedBird and Sky-Futures.
- RedBird, a French startup that processes drone data, received an undisclosed amount from the new Commercial Drone Fund after receiving approximately $2.2M in April from GDF Suez New Ventures.
- Sky-Futures, a UK service provider to the oil and gas industry which uses drones to help monitor and inspect facilities, received $200K from the Commercial Drone Fund after receiving approximately $3.8M from UK-based MMC Ventures, also in May, 2015.
SkyFund is another venture fund for unmanned aerial systems startups. Similar to the Commercial Drone Fund which is backed by drone autopilot maker Airware, SkyFund is backed by DJI and Accel Partners and is said to have launched operations with a $75M fund.
ABB and UK-based Venture:Bright set up The Idea Hub to fund and accelerate industrial robot concepts.
Qualcomm and TechStars launched their first Qualcomm Robotics Accelerator of 10 startups in a four-month mentorship-driven program at a new 7,000 sq ft work space and robotics lab in San Diego. Startups will share $1M in funding.