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Robco, a Munich-based startup that builds modular robots to automate processes in small to medium-sized industrial businesses, brought in around $13.8 million, or €13 million, in Series A funding, according to reporting from TechCrunch.
Sequoia led the funding round, which also included participation from Kindred Capital, Promus Ventures, Torsten Reil, Christian Reber and Daniel Dines. According to Sequoia, Robco stands apart from other robotics platforms because of its flexibility. With Robco, users can change their robots’ capabilities to adapt to their changing manufacturing needs.
Robco has found its niche in automation by automating tricky tasks and building robotics that are cost-effective enough to be available to smaller manufacturers. Robco’s modular robotics solutions currently have three end-effector components that are capable of lathe turning, laser engraving and palletizing. The company hopes to add more modules over time, specifically in milling and quality inspection.
Robco’s robotic arms are made up of seven or eight modular pieces that have varying payload capacities and ranges depending on the use case. For example, the company’s machine tending laser solution is made up of eight modules, has a 4 kg (8.8 lbs) payload, and has an 800 mm (31.5″) range. Meanwhile, its palletizing solution, which also uses eight modules, has an 8.5 kg (18.7 lb) payload and 1,300 mm (51″) range.
The company plans to use the funding to expand the capabilities of its modules, continue adding more clients and expand its geographical reach, including into the U.S. market.
Robco’s robots are offered under the robots as a service (RaaS) model. RaaS models allow companies to start automating without having a big chunk of capital to give upfront.
Robco typically charges $1,000/month for its robots, while overall charges can run as high as $4,000/month. The overall cost depends on how complex the client’s robot setup would be. Robco’s robots can be deployed in just a few days.
Robco was founded in 2020 by Roman Hoelzl, now the CEO, Paul Maroldt, now head of robot engineering, and Constantin Dresel, now the head of application engineering, as a spin-out from the Technical University of Munich.