Robotics Funding Money Summer Dollar Bill

Credit: Deposit Photos

June 22, 2018      

Summer officially kicked off in the Northern Hemisphere, giving us the urge to go hit the pool and soak in some rays. But in the automation community, things continue to heat up in terms of new artificial intelligence and robotics funding, mergers, and investment opportunities.

Today we’re highlighting 16 transactions from recent weeks, but you can always track more investments in the RBR Transactions Database. Our regularly updated database lets you sort deals by company, industry, technology, or transaction type. RBR Insiders can also download the Q1 2018 Transactions Report, which gives further analysis on automation spending. So let’s jump right in!

Variety of companies earn new robotics funding

We continue to see companies getting robotics funding to help humans perform tasks that are tedious, or that gain efficiencies humans alone can’t do. Sometimes, robots are just there to help people who are lonely.

Bossa Nova Robotics mobile inventory robots walmart

Credit: Bossa Nova Robotics

For example, this week saw Pittsburgh-based Bossa Nova Robotics score $29 million to expand its mobile inventory-scanning robots, which help retailers like Walmart to identify products that are out of stock on store shelves, letting human associates restock the shelves.

There’s nothing more annoying then driving to a store to find that the item you’re looking for is gone, so I support any system that can reduce those out-of-stock moments.

Having just spent a few days at PTC LiveWorx and the RBR-sponsored Robotics & AI Summit in Boston, I saw a lot of cool-looking trade show exhibits, which take a lot of time to construct. Imagine if a robot could help with that construction.

Earlier this week, Australian company August Robotics received $5 million in seed funding, and the first robot the company intends to produce is one that assembles trade-show exhibitions.

Over in the U.K., The Small Robot Company is raising £1 million to develop autonomous farming robots. The company is developing robots that can plat, seed, and weed crops autonomously, eliminating the need for a manned tractor or sprayer onto the field.

Ocean Infinity made an additional $2.3 million investment in Kraken Robotics, which is developing sensors and underwater robotics systems. The two companies have already collaborated to help develop autonomous ocean survey and exploration systems.

Medrobotics, which makes the Flex Robotic System for surgeons to access harder-to-reach anatomy for otolaryngology and colorectal procedures, received a $25 million investment from Western Technology Investment. The company also announced that Flex was cleared for “robot-assisted visualization in general surgical, gynecological and thoracic procedures” in the U.S.

Embodied, which is developing software and hardware for care and wellness for families, raised $22 million in Series A robotics funding, led by Calibrate Ventures. The team, led by a former CTO of iRobot, is aiming to create “emotionally intelligent, life-like robots that provide care” for families or individuals.

Get the Economic Pulse of the Robotics Industry

The first ever RBR Robot Activity Index by The Futurist Institute looks to be a barometer of the economic outlook of the leading robotics suppliers. These top 60 companies give their observations of risk, confidence in their sectors, and more.  
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AI and machine learning earn investments

Companies across the spectrum working with either machine learning, deep learning, or overall artificial intelligence technologies continue to find investments. This week was no different. For example:

  • Immuta, which utilizes data management and data science to help companies with compliance and regulation issues, raised $20 million in Series B funding by DFJ Growth.
  • Falkonry, which develops operational machine learning software for industrial companies, raised $4.6 million in Series A funding. The company has now raised $10.9 million for its offering that discovers “patterns hidden in their existing operations data, apply predictive analytics and receive actionable insights, all without requiring data scientists.”
  • Cambricon, a Chinese company that produces AI chips, raised a Series B round “worth several hundred millions of U.S. dollars“, led by SDIC Venture Capital, part of the state-owned China Reform Holdings Corp Ltd.

Noteworthy mergers from Microsoft and Fosun

Microsoft, which recently acquired developer site GitHub for $7.5 billion, announced this week it would be acquiring Berkeley, Calif.-based Bonsai. The company develops a deep reinforcement learning platform aimed at enterprises “leveraging industrial control systems such as robotics, energy, HVAC, manufacturing and autonomous systems in general.”

Microsoft said combining those tools with systems from Microsoft will create “the simplest and richest AI toolchain for building any kind of autonomous system for control and calibration tasks.”

China’s Fosun International said it would acquire FFT GmbH & Co., which provides automated and flexible turn-key production systems, customized engineering designs, and other smart factory solutions in Germany, the U.S., Japan, and China, among others. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Wrapping up the wrapup:

Summer and the pool are calling, so it’s time to wrap up this week’s robotics funding wrapup:

See you next week!

Main image courtesy of Deposit Photos.