Robot Investments Weekly: SoftBank Pays $7.7B for 15% Stake in Uber

December 29, 2017      

Robot Investments Weekly recaps the past week’s transactions across the global robotics industry. For more information, Robotics Business Review subscribers can access our Transactions Database to stay up to date on the key mergers and acquisitions, investments, public offerings, and government funding developments. Search, sort, and print by transaction type, date, or industry.

At press time, the last week of 2017 was mostly quiet, besides the first transaction below. It seems most investors were enjoying the holiday season. Last week, 20 companies raised more than $394 million.

SoftBank buys 15% stake in Uber for $7.7 billion

It’s only fitting that 2017 comes to an end with a major investment from SoftBank. The technology conglomerate paid $7.7 billion to own about 15% of Uber.

Uber investors and employees tendered shares equal to about 20% of the company in an offer by a SoftBank-led consortium that values Uber at $48 billion. According to multiple reports, that’s a roughly 30% discount on Uber’s most recent valuation of about $68 billion.

Uber is working on autonomous vehicles, of course, and SoftBank wants a piece of everything that’s autonomous. So keep an eye on this deal going forward. Interestingly, just last week, SoftBank was involved in the $4 billion raised by ride-sharing company Didi Chuxing Technology Co. The Chinese company, according to reports, will use the money to compete with Uber and invest in self-driving cars and other artificial intelligence (AI) systems.

According to the Wall Street Journal, as part of the deal, SoftBank also plans to invest about $1.25 billion in Uber at the most recent valuation of about $68 billion. This was reportedly a concession to existing Uber shareholders who were concerned about the lower valuation.

Raised in 60 seconds: SingularityNET gets $36 million for AI marketplace

Founded by Dr. Ben Goertzel, SingularityNET brings AI and blockchain together to create a decentralized open market for AIs. The idea is to allow companies, organizations, and developers to monetize AI, buying and sell AI algorithms at scale. Goertzel said this will lower the costs and increase the capabilities of AI.

Here is an example of how SingularityNET will work:

“If you need a document summarized, as a user you can put a request into SingularityNet…

“You may get bids from twenty different document summary nodes…and you may choose one with the right balance of reputation and price.

“But now that document summary node if it hits something in the document it can’t deal with, it can outsource that…if the document summary node that you’re paying…hits an embedded video it can outsource that to a video summarizing node and it can then pay it some fraction of the money it was paid. Or, if it sees a quote in Russian…it can outsource that …to a Russian to English translation node that can do that translation, then send it back to the document summary node.”

Terbium Labs raises $6 million for AI analysis of dark web

Terbium Labs announced a $6 million investment led by Glasswing Ventures, bringing the total raised by the company to $15 million. Terbium Labs will use the funding to extend its geographical footprint, bolster channel relationships with managed security service provider (MSSP) partners, and continue to innovate on Matchlight, the company’s dark web data monitoring system.

Terbium Labs uses machine learning and AI algorithms to model the dark web, find new sites, and predict where new illegal or risk content, such as stolen proprietary data, is likely to appear.

“As the dark web expands, automation is key to keeping up where human analysts cannot,” said Danny Rogers, Co-Founder and CEO of Terbium Labs. “Matchlight computes billions of data fingerprints every day and alerts customers within minutes when elements of their data appear somewhere they shouldn’t.

Dutch Welding Firm AWL Acquires ICS Robotics and Automation

AWL Group bought ICS Robotics and Automation Ltd, a robotic welding and automation specialist based in the UK. AWL has bought 100% of the shares of ICS, which will continue to operate under its own name and with its current management team.

ICS Robotics and Automation Ltd has been in the business of robotic welding and automation since 1989. They have a strong and satisfied customer base throughout the UK and Ireland. Their customers come from a wide range of industries including automotive, agricultural, medical and general manufacturing.