ANYbotics led the way in the ICRA 2018 Robot Launch Startup Competition on May 22, 2018 at the Brisbane Conference Center in Australia. Although ANYbotics pitched last out of the 10 startups presenting, they clearly won over the judges and audience. As competition winners, ANYbotics received a $3,000 prize from QUT bluebox, Australia's robotics accelerator (currently taking applications for 2018!), plus Silicon Valley Robotics membership and mentoring from The Robotics Hub. ANYbotics is a Swiss startup creating fabulous four legged robots like ANYmal and the core component, the ANYdrive highly integrated modular robotic joint actuator. Founded in 2016 by a group of ETH Zurich engineers, ANYbotics is a spin-off company of the Robotic Systems Lab (RSL), ETH Zurich.
Mapbox, a Washington, DC and San Francisco provider of nav systems for car companies and others involved in autonomous vehicles, raised $164 million in a Series C round led by the SoftBank Vision Fund, with participation from existing investors including Foundry Group, DFJ Growth, DBL Partners, and Thrive Capital. "Location data is central and mission critical to the development of the world's most exciting technologies," said Rajeev Misra, who helps oversee SoftBank's Vision Fund. Element AI, a Canadian startup providing learning platform solutions for self-driving and advanced manufacturing, raised $135 CAD million (around $105 million) in a Series A round (in June) led by Data Collective, a SV-based venture capital firm, and included participation by Fidelity Investments Canada, National Bank of Canada, Intel Capital, and Real Ventures. Ninebot, the Chinese consumer products company that bought out Segway and raised $80 million in 2015, raised another $100 million in a Series C round from the SDIC Fund Management Co. and the China Mobile Fund. Horizon Robotics, another Chinese startup, raised $100 million in a Series A round led by Intel Capital with participation by Wu Capital, Morningside Venture Capital, Linear Venture, Hillhouse Capital and Harvest Investments.
Geek Plus says that this is the largest-ever funding round for a logistics robotics startup. The round, a Series B, was led by Warburg Pincus, with participation from other shareholders including Volcanics Venture and Vertex Ventures. The company is not disclosing its valuation but we have asked and will update as we learn more. Warburg Pincus led the startup's previous round of $60 million in 2017, and Geek Plus has raised around $217 million since being founded in 2015. Part of the reason for this large round is because the company says its on track for a big year, projecting to growth business five-fold, and it wants to capitalise on that growth both inside its own giant home market of Mainland China as well as further afield.
What are the main reasons that robotics companies and startups fail? Is it the technology or is it the business? Fresh Consulting analyzed significant industry case studies from Rethink Robotics to iRobot for their whitepaper "Why Robotics Companies Fail," and launched it on June 11 at a panel discussion moderated by James Dietrich, from Fresh Consulting, with guest speakers Aaron Prather, Senior Advisor for the Technology Research and Planning Team at FedEx Express; Andra Keay, Managing Director of Silicon Valley Robotics and startup accelerator advisor, and Eric Klein, Partner and Founder at Lemnos Labs. In a lively discussion, the speakers weighed in on what key factors for success or failure were most likely in their experience. Andra Keay believes that lack of business fundamentals is the most critical error a young company faces.
The Robotics Hub, in collaboration with Silicon Valley Robotics, is looking to invest up to $500,000 in robotics, AI and sensor startups! Finalists also receive exposure on Robohub and space in the new Silicon Valley Robotics Cowork Space. Plus you get to pitch your startup to an audience of top VCs, investors and experts. In previous Robot Launch competitions we've had hundreds of entries from more than 20 countries around the world. Our finalists have also reached the finals of major startup competitions like Tech Crunch Disrupt, and gone on to raise millions of dollars of funding making strong industry partnerships, such as working with Siemens Frontier Program.