With $38.6 million from eleven investors (lion’s share arriving early- to mid-2015) already stashed in Jibo’s bank account, the friendly family robot, billed as the World’s First Social Robot, may need access to distribution channels and markets more than it needs further capital.
That may well be exactly what it received in its pre-Thanksgiving (November 25th) investment from Silicon VC group Fenox Venture Capital.
No financial terms were announced with the transaction, however Fenox hooking Jibo up with the well-known Japanese Sega Sammy Holdings as well as CAC Holdings, both with longstanding access to consumer markets: Sega in video games (remember Sonic the Hedgehog in the mid-1990s?); Sammy in pachinko gaming; and CAC “supporting Japanese companies’ adoption of information technology” since the late 80s, might bode well for Jibo’s entre into Japanese households.
Especially elderly households, seeing that Japan’s over 65 population is 25 percent of 127 million Japanese, which by 2060 warns the government will be 40 percent. A population with 25 percent 65 and over represents in excess of 31 million elderly Japanese. The sales potential for Jibo borders on the staggering.
For Sega Sammy, a massive hit by Jibo in Japan would be a sight for sore eyes. With its share price tumbling from $3.95 to its current $2.70 and steadily losing revenue, Jibo could launch the former home console giant into a massive return to households.
“These partnerships will bring great innovation not only to Japan but also around the world,” said Anis Uzzaman, General Partner at Fenox Venture Capital. ?”enox VC will continue to partner with innovative startups and bridge the gap between Japan and Silicon Valley, and eventually the world.”
“We’re excited to be partnering with Fenox VC to fuel our global growth,” said Steve Chambers, CEO of Jibo, Inc. “We are already working with Fenox VC to help us find the right partnerships worldwide.”
According to Jibo, Inc., Jibo “helps the family stay connected and improves family communication” anything from lending a hand in managing your busy life to providing companionship and entertainment. The startup transforms existing, flat content and application experiences so you can interact with technology in a way never before possible.?
Jibo as the new family “console” may be Sega Sammy’s way of looking at the nascent partnership.