Medical robot makers continued to consolidate in recent weeks, as two big merger announcements shook up the robotics and artificial intelligence space. Meanwhile, unmanned aerial vehicles continued to receive high-flying investments, while other companies have returned to Earth.
Today, we’re highlighting 16 recent robotics transactions. If you’ve missed some other transactions from last month or earlier this year, you can track them in the RBR Transactions Database. Our regularly updated database lets you sort deals by company, industry, technology, or transaction type. If you’re an RBR Insider, don’t forget to check out the Q2 Transactions Report, which showcases and analyzes major investment trends for the past three months. It’s free for subscribers to Robotics Business Review.
Medical robot mergers could spark more consolidation
At this week’s RoboBusiness 2018 event, speakers at several sessions mentioned the investor interest in and the continued growth of the medical robotics field. Two big acquisitions also confirmed that vendors serving this vertical market are consolidating.
Medtronic said it plans to acquire Mazor Robotics, which develops the Mazor X spinal surgical system and the Renaissance Guidance System. The deal is worth about $1.64 billion, or $1.34 billion net of Medtronic’s existing stake in Mazor and cash acquired, the company stated.
“We believe robotic-assisted procedures are the future of spine surgery, enhancing surgeons’ abilities to perform complex procedures with greater precision, consistency and control, said Geoff Martha, executive vice president and president of the Restorative Therapies Group at Medtronic. “We intend to further cultivate Mazor’s legacy of innovation in surgical robotics with the site and team in Israel as a base for future growth.”
TransEnterix, which develops the Senhance Surgical System for abdominal procedures, announced the acquisition of MST Medical Surgery Technologies, an Israeli medical technology company. TransEnterix said the acquisition would accelerate its plans to “deliver digital laparoscopy, thereby increasing control in the surgical environment and reducing surgical variability.”
Medical robot aechnology acquired from MST includes advanced visualization, scene recognition, AI, machine learning, and data analytics. TransEnterix also said the acquisition provides immediate access to an established research and development center in Israel, “with a core team of experienced engineers.”
There are still more than 30 surgical and medical robot companies, and earlier this year, analysts suggested that consolidation in this market was likely to occur.
In another medical-related transaction, IDx announced raising $33 million for expansion of its diabetic retinopathy diagnostic device, which has received FDA approval.
The IDx-DR is an AI system that can “detect diabetic retinopathy without requiring a clinician to interpret the image or results,” said the company. “This enables health care providers who are not normally involved in eye care to use the AI system to test for this leading cause of blindness during routine office visits.”
Good news, bad news for drone developers
While commercial and industrial drone companies continued to receive investments, the news wasn’t good for everyone. Airware is shutting down, after spending its $118 million in funding to develop drone hardware and software. TechCrunch shared more details of the shutdown.
Other companies providing aerial drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), have received additional funding or have been acquired. Sensehawk Technologies announced raising $2 million in funding from SAIF Ventures. The company utilizes UAVs, sensors, and data processing to create decision-making tools for the energy and infrastructure industries.
Universal mCloud said that it would acquire Ascent Aerosystems in a deal worth about $6.55 million. Universal mCloud said it would offer Ascent’s UAV to provide its cloud-based AssetCare solutions for customers to inspect critical assets. Such assets include wind turbines, HVAC units, electrical transformers, and other equipment in remote or inaccessible locations. The technology also includes AI-enabled visual inspections and real-time monitoring.
Intel Capital announced an investment in fixed-wing drone maker Delair for an undisclosed amount. The investment would help the French company expand its offerings in the agriculture, utilities, mining, and construction markets.
Wrapping up the rest
Sorry for the short column this week, but we’re wrapping up coverage at RoboBusiness, and we need to catch our flight home. Here is a bullet list items of other worthy transactions from recent weeks:
- Forssea Robotics Earns Funding for Underwater Vehicle Development
- Northrop Grumman Earns Contract for MQ-4C Triton Spare Parts
- SoftBank Ventures Korea Starts $300M Fund for Chinese Startups
- Canada’s DarwinAI Emerges from Stealth for Deep Learning Development
- RE2 Robotics Wins Contract for Water-Based Mine Disposal System
- MouSensor Raises Seed Money For Digitizing Smell Technology
- Mode Raises $3M for IoT Cloud Data Platform
- China’s Sanjiang Holdings invests in GalaxyEye
- Germany’s Twenty Billion Neurons Wins Funding for AI-Based Vision Platform
Peace, love, and robots, everyone! See you next month for the start of Q4 2018!