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Robotics fundings, acquisitions and IPOs: March 2018

April 4, 2018

Twenty-four startups were funded in March 2018 raising a combined total of $350 million. That brings the 3-month total to $1.5 billion!

Sorting robots at JD’s smart automated warehouse in Shanghai

There was an additional funding of $2.5 billion to JD Logistics, an 81.4%-owned spin-off that is the logistics arm of JD, China’s 2nd largest online retailer. Funding came from Hillhouse, Sequoia, China Merchants, Tencent, China Life, China Development Bank, China Structural Reform and ICBC International.

JD Logistics has 14 smart warehouses serving a network of ~500 warehouses occupying over 130 million sq ft of warehouse space. The 14 smart warehouses are using robotic shuttles, AS/RS systems, parallel robots and AGVs and JD Logistics is experimenting with autonomous delivery vehicles. Consequently, some of that funding will be used to research, develop and increase the number of smart warehouses with robotic logistics solutions.

Also in March there were three acquisitions and an IPO.

Fundings

  1. Desktop Metal, a Burlington, Mass.-based company making metal 3d printing system for mass production raised $65 million in funding. Ford Motor Company led the round, and was joined by other investors including Future Fund. Desktop Metal has raised $277 million to date, has over 225 employees and has sold products into more than 40 countries.
  2. Mythic, an Austin, Texas-based AI chip company, raised $40 million in Series B funding. SoftBank Ventures led the round, and was joined by investors including DFJ, Lux Capital, Data Collective, AME Cloud Ventures, Lockheed Martin Ventures and Andy Bechtolsheim. Mythic’s low-power lightweight chips are used for onboard processing in drones.
  3. Corindus Vascular Robotics

    CorPath GRX System.

    , a Waltham, MA-based robotic-assisted surgical platform and the developer of the FDA-approved CorPath GRX system, raised another $25 million in a post-IPO equity private placement to existing investors including Hudson Executive Capital and BioStar Ventures, and new investors. Corrindus has raised $118 million and installed 33 systems to date.

  4. ReWalk Robotics, an Israeli exoskeleton provider, in another post-IPO equity private placement, exchanged 16 million shares of its stock RWLK for $20 million in a private placement with Hong Kong Timwell Garment, a wholesale distributor of men’s and boy’s apparel. Timwell and ReWalk are joint venturing in China with RealCan Ambrum, a Shenzhen VC for healthcare products, to develop, manufacture and market ReWalk’s new soft-suit exoskeleton. ReWalk will provide the technology; Timwell and RealCan will provide additional funding and do the rest.
  5. Airspace Systems Inc, a San Leandro, Calif.-based manufacturer of comprehensive drone defense systems, raised $20 million in Series A funding. Singtel Innov8 led the round, and was joined by investors including s28 Capital, Shasta Ventures and Granite Hill Capital Partners.
  6. Blackmore Sensors and Analytics, a Bozeman, Montana-based developer of frequency-modulated continuous wave LiDAR for the auto industry, raised $18 million in Series B funding. BMW i Ventures led the round and was joined by Toyota AI Ventures, Millennium Technology Value Partners and Next Frontier Capital.
  7. Starsky Robotics, a San Francisco-based self-driving truck startup, raised $16.5 million in funding. Investors include Shasta Ventures, Y Combinator, Trucks.vc, 50 Years, and 9Point Ventures.
  8. Fortem Technologies, a Utah developer and provider of ultra small C-SWAP radar for beyond line of sight UAS operations, raised $15 million in a Series A round led by Data Collective with participation by New Ground Ventures, Mubadala Investment Co, New Ground Ventures, Signia Venture Partiers and The Boeing Company.
  9. Laifual Drive, a Chinese harmonic drive gearbox manufacturer and robot reducer supplier, raised $15 million in a Series A round led by Northern Light VC with participation from Rushan Investment.
  10. Transphorm, a CA chipmaker using gallium nitride semiconductors, has raised $15 million from Yaskawa Electric who uses Transphorm products in the servo motors for robots.
  11. Blue Vision Labs, a Los Angeles machine perception startup, raised $14.5 million in a Series A round led by GV with participation by Accel Partners, Horizons Ventures and SV Angel.
  12. Cobalt Robotics

    Cobalt mobile security robot.

    , a Silicon Valley mobile security robot startup, raised $13 million in a Series A financing led by Sequoia Capital with participation by Founders Fund, Storm Ventures, Bloomberg Beta, Promus Ventures and others.

  13. Bestmile, a Swiss autonomous driving fleet management platform startup, raised $11 million in a Series A round let by Road Ventures with participation from Serena Capital, Partech, Airbus Ventures, Mobility.fund and Aéroport de Paris.
  14. Robotic Vision Technologies, an Illinois developer and integrator of vision systems, raised $10.5 million from unknown sources. RVT has a 3D vision guidance system for guided vehicles and the collaborative robot market.
  15. Ascent Robotics, a Tokyo-based AI startup focusing on self-driving vehicles and autonomous robotic systems, raised $10.3 million in a Series A round led by SBI Investment with participation from Bart Joseph Broadman.
  16. OpenTrons, a Brooklyn, NY lab liquid-handling pipetting robot maker, raised $10 million in a seed round led by Khosla Ventures with participation by Y Combinator, Lerer Hippeau Ventures and Jeffrey Kindler.
  17. Arraiy, a Silicon Valley vision systems and machine learning startup, raised $10 million in a Series A round led by Softbank Ventures Korea and Lux Capital with participation by IDG Capital Partners, Dentsu Ventures, Cherry Tree Investments and CRCM Ventures.
  18. Agility Robotics
    Agility Robotics Cassie bipedal robot

    Agility bipedal mobile robots.

    , an Oregon startup developing legged robots into products that need rugged mobility and must fit into human spaces, closed a $8 million Series A round. Playground Global led the round, with participation from Sony Innovation Fund and existing investor Robotics Hub. Agility’s two-legged Cassie robot is already deployed in 6 research institutes. Agility is planning on using Cassie for everything from deliveries to facility inspections to hazardous search-and-rescue operations.

  19. Scotty Labs, a tele-operations company working on technology for remote control-enabled self-driving cars, raised $6 million in seed funding. Gradient Ventures led the round, and was joined by investors including Horizon Ventures and Hemi Ventures.
  20. Hummingbird Technologies, a UK drone, aerial and satellite imagery and remote sensing ag startup, raised $4.1 million in a Series A round led by Sir James Dyson, the European Space Agency, Newable Private Investing and Velcourt.
  21. Circular Wave Drive, an Ohio startup developing a long-life speed reducer gear for robots, raised $2 million in a Seed round led by Ikove Venture Partners.
  22. Skycision,  a Pittsburgh-based ag drone analytics startup, raised $1.1 million in a seed round from Innova Memphis, AgLaunch Accelerator, Scurich Berry Farms and individual investors.
  23. Mojio Inc, a Vancouver-based connected car platform, raised funding of an undisclosed amount. Investors include Iris Capital and Telus Ventures.
  24. Oxford Robotics (Dynium), an Oxford, UK autonomous farm tractor startup, raised an unknown amount in seed investment from unknown sources.

Acquisitions

  1. Energida Cambridge, MA-based integrator, engineering firm and developer of robot control, simulation and machine vision software, was acquired by Teradyne (NYSE:TER), the company that acquired Universal Robots back in 2015.
  2. Syngenta (NYSE:SYT), an ag conglomerate which was acquired by ChemChina in 2017, has acquired NC ag analytics startup FarmShots, for an undisclosed amount. FarmShots will be integrated into Syngenta’s AgriEdge Excelsior whole-farm management system and be available to growers worldwide.
  3. Tarena Intl, a Chinese educational services company, acquired Wuhan Haoxiaozi Robot Technology, also known as Rtec, a K-12 robotics programming education service. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

IPOs

  1. Octopus Robots (FP:MLOCT), a French developer of mobile robots for the ag industry, raised $32.8 million from selling 1.765M shares of stock on the Paris Stock Exchange.
Frank Tobe is the owner and publisher of The Robot Report, and is also a panel member for Robohub's Robotics by Invitation series... read more



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