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February was another good month for robotic investments

February 28, 2015

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February was another big month for investments in robotic startup companies, including 3D Robotics, Flyability, Fetch Robotics, EHang and many others.

Equity and crowd fundings:

  • 3D Robotics raised $50M in a Series C round bringing total investment to date of $85M. Qualcomm was the principle investor in this round and 3DR intends to use the funds to expand R&D and begin using Snapdragon processors and Qualcomm sensors.
  • Fetch Robotics gets $3M to bring their new mobile manipulator to market and to hire up to 10 positions in addition to their present 10-member team. Fetch intends to display a research edition of their new robot at ICRA in May in Seattle.
  • RoboCV, a Russian startup and developer of a range of autopilot vehicle products, got $3 to scale up activities for robotizing mobile vehicles (forklifts, warehouse and mine tugs and tows) with vision, navigation and collision avoidance systems.
  • Flyability wins $1M award in a UAE-sponsored contest entitled ‘Drones for Good.’ The same organization has set up a new contest: ‘Robotics for Good.’ The goal is to encourage robotics innovation that benefits society in the areas of education, healthcare and social services. Two prizes will be given: a national prize worth 1M AED, and an international prize worth $1M USD.
  • Ehang Ghost Drone gets $10M funding and $857,851 from IndieGoGo. The $10M Series A round actually happened on December 30, 2014 but it wasn’t widely publicized. They also received $858k from their IndieGoGo campaign, which concluded mid January.
  • Sight Machine raised $5M to help manufacturers use advanced technology to get a handle on their data, particularly small datasets which are generally characterized as data describing what tracked objects are doing, e.g.: does the soil have the right mixture of nutrients or what is that mobile robot seeing?
  • Somabar got $312,717 from a Kickstarter campaign for their stylish wifi-enabled cocktail maker and app.
  • iCamPRO got $250,000 from an IndieGoGo campaign for their omnidirectional security camera with motion detectivation and follow capability. iCamPRO is a brand of Amaryllo Intl, an Amsterdam-based Dutch consumer and security products provider.

Not really an equity funding, but a fund for equity investing, Bolt, a Boston-based hardware accellerator and venture capital firm, completed funding of an investment fund of $25M to enable investing in new ventures bringing complex connected hardware products to market, some of which are robotic. Bolt established a new San Francisco facility (they share with Autodesk Pier 9 Workshop) and plan to to focus on SV startups and invest up to $500k per startup.

Acquisitions:

Perceptron continues its acquisition spree by purchasing Coord 3 for approximately $15 million. Coord 3 is an Italian provider of metrology equipment and has a line of measurement robots. Perceptron develops, produces, and sells 3D machine vision solutions for measurement, inspection, and robot guidance in industrial applications.

Failures:

And finally, Intuitive Automata and their little diet robot Autom ran out of money and failed. CEO and founder Cory Kidd has moved on to another San Francisco-based startup: Catalia Health.

Frank Tobe
guest author
Frank Tobe is the owner and publisher of The Robot Report, and is also a panel member for Robohub's Robotics by Invitation series.

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