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Rice Robotics, a Hong Kong-based developer of outdoor and indoor delivery, security, and disinfection robots, has brought in $7 million in Pre-Series A funding.
The company has already used some of the funding to establish a new production plant in Hong Kong. The plant started operations in the first quarter of 2023, and is located in Tsuen Wan’s industrial area. Since opening, the 13,000-square-foot facility has quadrupled the company’s annual production capacity.
Rice Robotics’ new plant is part of its commitment to designing and manufacturing its robots in Hong Kong.
“We aspire to showcase to the world that Hong Kong possesses a robotics company capable of producing first-tier service robots,” Victor Lee, the founder and CEO of Rice Robotics, said. “Our aim is to nurture talent locally and contribute to the advancement of Industry 4.0 in our hometown.”
Rice Robotics also plans to use the funding, and its new Hong Kong facility, to target the Japanese market. This market is particularly interesting to the company because of Japan’s willingness to adopt service robots.
The company has made big strides in recent years within the Japanese Market. Since 2021, its Rice robots have been delivering 7-Eleven products to Softbank employees at the company’s headquarters in Tekeshiba, Toyo. The pilot program is a joint initiative between Rice Robotics and Softbank.
Rice Robotics has also been working with the Japan Post Group to deploy five delivery robots for last-mile deliveries in a residential area in the Chiba prefecture since March 2021. RICE robots are also at work for the Toyota Motor Corporation within the company’s virtual showroom in Tokyo, where the robots serve beverages to guests.
Rice robots will also soon be providing delivery services to the Mitsui Garden Hotel, building off of the company’s current partnership with Mitsui Group. In 2022, Rice Robotics completed successful implementations of its robots at Tokyo Midtown Taesu and Mitsui Garden Hotel Kashiwa-no-ha Parkside.
Rice Robotics currently offers three autonomous mobile robots (AMRs): Rice, Jasmine, and Portal. Rice is an indoor delivery robot that can carry anything from fresh coffee to medical supplies and documents.
Jasmine is the company’s disinfection robot that sprays vaporized sterilizing fluid. The robot can run for up to 8 hours at a time and can do scheduled disinfections with adjustable vaporization strength. Finally, Portal is Rice Robotics’ security and patrol robot that can stream and record video, has a 2-way intercom, and can do things like detect water spillage or track air quality.