Robotics Fundings, Acquisitions and IPOs: April 2018
By: Frank Tobe, ROBO Global Strategic Advisor & editor of The Robot Report
Twenty startups were funded in April 2018.
Fifteen disclosed transaction amounts totaling $808 million of which the $600 million to SenseTime, the Alibaba-funded Chinese deep learning and facial recognition software provider focused on smart self-driving vehicle systems, was by far the largest.
Year to date, fundings total $2.3 billion!
Seven acquisitions also occurred in April. The most notable was the acquisition by Teradyne (which previously acquired Universal Robots and Energid) of MiR (Mobile Industrial Robots) for $148 million with an additional $124 million predicated on very achievable milestones between now and 2020.
SenseTime, a Chinese deep learning and facial recognition software provider focused on smart self-driving vehicle systems, raised $600 million in a Series C funding round led by Alibaba Group with participation by Temasek Holdings and Suning Commerce Group.
Formlabs, a Somerville, Mass.-based manufacturer of industrial quality 3D printing systems, raised $30 million in a Series C funding. Tyche Partners led the round, and was joined by Shenzhen Capital Group, UpNorth Investment Limited, DFJ, Pitango and Foundry Group.
Zimplistic, a Singapore-based kitchen robotics firm which makes the $999 Rotimatic roti maker, raised $30 million in a Series C funding led by Credence Partners and EDBI.
6 River Systems, a Massachusetts-based point-to-point logistics mobile robot maker, raised $25 million in Series B funding in a round led by Menlo Ventures with participation from all existing investors (Norwest Venture Partners, Eclipse Ventures and iRobot). Details here.
Houston Mechatronics, a Texas defense and space systems integrator, raised $20 million in Series B funding from Iain Cooper and Simple-Fill. Funds will be used to develop a novel transformer-like underwater device called Aquanaut.
Vicarious Surgical, a Cambridge, Mass-based robotic surgery startup, raised $16.75 million in Series A funding. Khosla Ventures and Innovation Endeavors led the round the round, and were joined by Gates Ventures, AME Cloud Ventures, and Marc Benioff.
Efy-Tech, a Chinese UAS control systems startup, raised $15.8 million in a Series A funding from Aviation Industry Corporation, a Chinese state-owned aerospace and defense company.
DeepScale, a Silicon Valley self-driving vehicle AI perception startup, raised $15 million in a Series A funding round led by Point72 and next47.
Ready Robotics, a Baltimore-based provider of collaborative robots as a service (RaaS), raised $15 million in funding. Drive Capital led the round, and was joined by Eniac Ventures and RRE Ventures.
Symbio Robotics, a Berkeley, CA robotics control software startup, raised $15 million from undisclosed sources.
Marble, a San Francisco-based developer of a fleet of intelligent courier robots, raised $10 million in Series A funding. Investors include Tencent, Lemnos, Crunchfund, and Maven.
Regulus Cyber, an Israeli startup developing and making security devices for drones and autonomous vehicles, raised $6.3 million in a Series A round led by Sierra Ventures and Canaan Partners Israel.
Comma.ai, the San Francisco startup led by superstar hacker George Hotz, raised $5 million in a Series A round although it’s unclear who invested in the round which was reported in an SEC filing.
Bear Robotics, a Silicon Valley mobile robot startup for the food industry, raised $3 million in a Seed round (in January) of which $2 million came from Korean food-tech firm Woowa Brothers.
Segway Robotics raised $1.1 million from 952 backers in an IndieGoGo campaign for their Loomo mobil robotic mini personal transporter which they are selling for $1,499 and begin shipping in May.
Robotics Fundings: amounts undisclosed
DroneSense, a Texas UAS platform for drone users and OEMs, raised an undisclosed amount from FLIR Systems. “This alliance with DroneSense will help bring to market a truly mission-critical solution needed by first responders to effectively deploy a complete UAS program across their organizations. We believe this platform is scalable geographically, across multiple markets, and across multiple FLIR Business Units,” said James Cannon, President and CEO of FLIR.
BBS Automation, a Germany-based global integrator of automated testing and inspection systems, raised an undisclosed amount from equity fund EQT Mid-Market which intends to assist BBS Automation’s growth ambitions both organically and through add-on acquisitions in new end markets.
Franka Emika, a German startup producing the Panda co-bot, raised an undisclosed amount from their new joint venture partner, German conglomerate Voith. The new joint venture has launched Voith Robotics which will develop the Panda co-bot business while Franka will focus on the research and selling to academia and the research community.
Franklin Robotics, the Lowell MA startup that created a garden weeding robot named Tertill, sold 25% of the company to Husqvarna Group for an undisclosed amount. “With almost 1,500,000 environmentally friendly robotic mowers sold all over the world, Husqvarna Group has vast experience and insight that will be invaluable to us as we bring Tertill to market, and continue to develop robotic weeding solutions for the garden and beyond”, says Rory MacKean, CEO Franklin Robotics.
Intuition Robotics, an Israeli startup developing an eldercare social robot, raised an undisclosed amount (in January) from SamsungNEXT Ventures.
Beijing Aresbots Technology (Ares Robot), a Beijing startup developing Kiva-like warehousing robots, was acquired for an undisclosed amount by Face++, a Beijing facial recognition and ID company also known as Megvii.
Genesis Advanced Technology, the Canadian startup developing LiveDrive, a direct-drive actuator with torque-to-weight that can meet or beat motor-gearbox actuators, has been acquired by Koch Industries for an undisclosed amount. Koch will form a new company Genesis Robotics & Motion Technologies (Genesis Robotics) – to commercialize LiveDrive and related technologies. Details here.
Genmark Automation, a Fremont, CA maker of automation tools and wafer handling robots for the semiconductor industry, was acquired by Nidec Sankyo, a Japanese maker of motors, clean-room robots and robot components, for an undisclosed amount.
JR Automation, a Michigan industrial robot integrator, acquired Setpoint Systems, a Littleton, CO, an integrator of building automation solutions, and Setpoint, an Ogden, Utah amusement and theme parks ride designer. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
MiR (Mobile Industrial Robots), the Danish startup with 300% sales growth in 2017, was acquired by Teradyne (NYSE:TER) for $148 million with an additional $124 million predicated on very achievable milestones between now and 2020. Details here.
Van Hoecke Automation, a Belgian-based industrial robot integrator, was acquired by Michigan-based Burke Porter Group for an undisclosed amount. BPG is a multi-subsidiary conglomerate providing testing and clean room equipment to the auto industry.
Wind River, a control systems software provider acquired by Intel, has been acquired by private equity firm TPG Capital for an undisclosed amount. “This acquisition will establish Wind River as a leading independent software provider uniquely positioned to advance digital transformation within critical infrastructure segments with our comprehensive edge to cloud portfolio,” said Jim Douglas, Wind River President. “At the same time, TPG will provide Wind River with the flexibility and financial resources to fuel our many growth opportunities as a standalone software company that enables the deployment of safe, secure, and reliable intelligent systems.”
Revolve Robotics (developer of the KUBI tabletop remote presence device) has folded and turned over remaining sales, service and support to their Northern California manufacturer Xandex.
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