August and September equity fundings, joint ventures, acquisitions and venture funds continue the momentum exhibited throughout 2015 of serious money flowing into robotics startups.
For a list of acquisitions, click here.
Midea Group, a large Chinese home appliance maker, formed two joint ventures with Yaskawa Electric. Yaskawa is one of the worldwide Big Four manufacturers of industrial robots. Midea and Yaskawa wil invest a total of $65M in two new as-yet unnamed ventures. One will be focused on service robots. Midea will own 60% of this venture. The other will focus on industrial robots and Yaskawa will own 51%. Both new ventures will be based in Guangdong, China and will be responsible for research, manufacturing and marketing.
Midea hopes its expansion into the robot industry will help upgrade its own manufacturing and industrial automation. It also hopes that Yaskawa’s technologies and products in service robots will help Midea find new business opportunities as China addresses the economic impact of a huge aging population in the coming years.
GE Ventures, which has been activly investing in robotics startups (including the one to Clearpath Robotics described above), created a new $20M fund with Carnegie Mellon University’s (CMU) National Robotics Engineering Center. The new fund, The Robotics Hub AKA Coal Hill Ventures, will begin writing checks early in 2016 for anywhere between $200,000 and $2 million for 20 to 30 emerging robotics startup companies that will be part of The Robotics Hub.
The strategy that’s most important to GE is to really get behind startups and help them scale. A lot of companies can come with the money, but what we bring is the ability to scale and the opportunity to commercialize quite quickly.