2015 was a phenomenal year for funding and acquiring robotic companies. Over $1.32 billion in seed, crowd, series A,B,C,D and VC fundings and more than $2.27 billion in acquisitions. And they've begun again in 2016.
UPDATED 5/2/2016: Adds Skydio and Drone Racing League fundings.
Woobo, a stealthy startup in Boston, received $800k from Kunlun (AKA Kalends), a Chinese provider of online games and software apps.
Savioke, a Silicon Valley startup headed by Steve Cousins, previously the CEO at Willow Garage, received $15 million from Intel, EDBI and Northern Light. Savioke's Relay delivery robots are now placed in 5 hotel chains and have added coffee to the arsenal of things it can deliver. In 2015, over 11,000 deliveries were made with Relay robots.
Skydio, a Silicon Valley drone vision and nav system provider, got $25 million from Andreessen Horowitz and Accel, a Palo Alto VC.
Drone Racing League, a NY startup establishing a drone racing community and sporting events, got $5.6 million from RSE Ventures.
Aesynt, a Pennsylvania company that produces and distributes hospital pharmacy dispensing robot systems, was acquired by Omnicell, a Silicon Valley medical device provider of advanced automation enabling health care facilities to acquire, manage, dispense, and deliver medications and supplies, for $275 million. Omnicell has been on an acquisition binge. In 2015 it acquired MTS Medication Technologies and MACH4 Automation, both manufacturing and marketing robotic pharmacy dispensing systems.
Ascending Technologies, a German provider of autopilot systems, unmanned aircraft systems and multi-rotor technology for professional, civil and research applications, was acquired by Intel for an undisclosed amount. At CES, Intel showed off Ascending's technology in a colorful video of 100 drones performing a light show in time with an orchestra playing a Beethoven Symphony. Intel gains expertise and technology (and 75 new employees) to accelerate the deployment of Intel RealSense technology into the fast growing drone market segment. Intel plans to develop UAV technology that can help drones fly with more awareness of their environments.
Mikrotron, a German provider of image processing systems used for designing robotic and automated processes, R&D, QC and process control, was acquired by Ambienta SGR, an Italian VC focusing on industrial environmentally-friendly companies, for an undisclosed amount.
Frank Tobe is the owner and publisher of The Robot Report and co-founder of ROBO Global which has developed a tracking index for the robotics industry, the ROBO Global™ Robotics & Automation Index. The index of 82 companies in 13 subsectors tracks and captures the entire economic value of this global opportunity in robotics, automation and enabling technologies.