The Robot Report tracked 58 robotics investments in December 2021 that totaled at least $1.2 billion. There were five mergers and acquisitions that included two via special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs).
The largest round of the month went to Maryland-based Robotic Research, which raised $228 million in Series A funding. Robotic Research spent the better part of two decades developing autonomous driving technology for the U.S. Department of Defense. With the Series A funding, the first outside capital the company raised, Robotic Research launched a commercial division called RR.AI. This new endeavor is developing autonomous driving technology for commercial truck, bus and logistics vehicles.
The second-largest round also went to an autonomous driving company. China’s Haomo raised $157 million in Series A funding from GL Ventures, Meituan, Qualcomm Ventures and others. Formerly the intelligent driving department of Great Wall Motor, Haomo is developing L4 autonomous driving technology to deliver groceries and other goods.
Chinese companies raised the most funding rounds at 19, which totaled at least $461.4 million. This is a much higher number than we’ve typically seen. Are the increased investments related to China’s new five-year plan to become a global robotics powerhouse? It’s too early to tell, but we’ll be keeping a closer eye on China’s robotics investments going forward. U.S.-based companies accounted for 17 investments for a total of at least $521.8 million.
Companies working on autonomous driving applications led the way in overall funding and number of funding rounds. The 13 investments totaled at least $575.6 million. While surgical robotics companies only accounted for 2 of the funding rounds, they totaled the second-highest amount at $117 million.
Here is a breakdown of the funding rounds for December 2021, in order of most to least: Series A (15), Seed (11), Other (10), Series B (9), Unknown (9), Series C (2), Series D (1) and Pre-Seed (1).
The table below lists robotics company fundings in millions of U.S. dollars, where amounts were publicly available. If more of the funding amounts become available, we will update the chart.
Robotics investments December 2021
|Drone Express||Seed||Aerial drones||U.S.|
|Haomo||Series A||157||Autonomous driving||China|
|RainMed Medical||Series D||100||Surgical robots||China|
|Youibot||Series B||47||Mobile robots||China|
|Qiangua Technology||Series A||31||Autonomous driving||China|
|ForwardX Robotics||Series C||31||Mobile robots||China|
|i-KINGTEC||Series B||15.7||Aerial drones||China|
|Zhuishi Technology||Series A||15.7||Autonomous driving||China|
|Yiwei Semiconductor||Unknown||15.7||Motion control||China|
|Xiaodou Intelligent Technology||Angel||9||Maritime systems||China|
|White Rhino||Seed||7.8||Autonomous driving||China|
|Zhi'an New Energy||Angel||1.5||Battery power||China|
|Jingwu Smart||Series A||Cleaning robots||China|
|Microchain Vision||Series A||3D vision||China|
|Passion Intelligence||Series A||Logistics robots||China|
|Wangyuan Environmental Protection & Technology||Series A||Cleaning robots||China|
|WeRide||Corporate Round||Autonomous driving||China|
|Robocath||Debt Financing||17||Surgical robots||France|
|Vay||Series B||95||Autonomous driving||Germany|
|GreyOrange||Debt Financing||13||Logistics robots||India|
|Unbox Robotics||Series A||7||Logistics robots||India|
|DTown Robotics||Seed||0.5||Service robots||India|
|Flo Mobility||Seed||0.4||Autonomous driving||India|
|Anra Technologies||Unknown||Aerial Drones||India|
|Rightbot||Convertible Note||Logistics robots||India|
|Pace Robotics||Seed||Construction robots||India|
|Powermat Technologies||Series B||25||Wireless charging||Israel|
|Brodmann17||Series A||10||Autonomous driving||Israel|
|Kitchen Robotics||Funding Round||Food robotics||Israel|
|ALBA Robot||Debt Financing||0.7||Autonomous driving||Italy|
|EMYS||Series A||Educational robots||Poland|
|Photoneo||Series B||21||3D vision||Slovakia|
|Rovenso||Convertible Note||Security robots||Switzerland|
|Robotic Research||Series A||228||Autonomous driving||U.S.|
|Dedrone||Series C||30.5||Anti-drone software||U.S.|
|Elementary Robotics||Series B||30||Inspection||U.S.|
|Petra||Series A||30||Construction robots||U.S.|
|SkySafe||Series B||30||Aerial drones||U.S.|
|Electric Sheep Robotics||Series A||21.5||Autonomous lawnmowers||U.S.|
|Voyant Photonics||Series A||15.4||LiDAR||U.S.|
|Serve Robotics||Seed||13||Delivery robots||U.S.|
|Botrista Technology||Funding Round||Food robots||U.S.|
Robotics mergers & acquisitions
The Robot Report tracked 5 mergers and acquisitions in December 2021. Most of the deals didn’t publicly disclose financial details, but Symbotic’s merger with SVF Investment Corp. 3, a SPAC sponsored by an affiliate of SoftBank Investment Advisers, led the way. The deal values Wilmington, Mass.-based Symbotic at a pro forma enterprise value of $4.8 billion, representing 4.8x Symbotic’s forecast 2023 calendar year end estimated revenues. Symbotic said it expects to generate $433 million in revenue in 2022, which would be more than a 73% increase year over year.
Founded in 2005, Symbotic’s robotics systems are used by some of the world’s biggest retailers and wholesalers, including Walmart, Albertsons and C&S Wholesale Grocers. Its fleet of robots can receive, store and retrieve products in distribution centers. At the core of the system is a fleet of several hundred autonomous mobile robots called “Symbots.”
|Acquirer||Acquired Company||Amount ($M)||Tech||Story|
|DePuy Synthes||OrthoSpin||Healthcare robots||Story|
|Delhivery||Transition Robotics||Aerial drones||Story|
|SVF Investment Corp||Symbotic||(SPAC)||Logistics robots||Story|
|CleanTech Acquisition Corp.||Nauticus Robotics||(SPAC)||Maritime robots||Story|
Editors’ note: What defines robotics investments? The answer to this simple question is central in any attempt to quantify them with some degree of rigor. To make investment analyses consistent, repeatable, and valuable, it is critical to wring out as much subjectivity as possible during the evaluation process. This begins with a definition of terms and a description of assumptions.
Investors and investing
Investment should come from venture capital firms, corporate investment groups, angel investors, and other sources. Friends-and-family investments, government/non-governmental agency grants, and crowd-sourced funding are excluded.
Robotics and intelligent systems companies
Robotics companies must generate or expect to generate revenue from the production of robotics products (that sense, analyze, and act in the physical world), hardware or software subsystems and enabling technologies for robots, or services supporting robotics devices. For this analysis, autonomous vehicles (including technologies that support autonomous driving) and drones are considered robots, while 3D printers, CNC systems, and various types of “hard” automation are not.
Companies that are “robotic” in name only, or use the term “robot” to describe products and services that do not enable or support devices acting in the physical world, are excluded. For example, this includes “software robots” and robotic process automation. Many firms have multiple locations in different countries. Company locations given in the analysis are based on the publicly listed headquarters in legal documents, press releases, etc.
Funding information is collected from a number of public and private sources. These include press releases from corporations and investment groups, corporate briefings, industry analysts, and association and industry publications, including Crunchbase PitchBook and Tracxn. In addition, information comes from sessions at conferences and seminars, as well as during private interviews with industry representatives, investors, and others. Unverifiable investments are excluded.
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