June fundings, acquisitions, and failures in the robotics industry in 2016

There have been several major deals involving robotics companies in 2016 with Chinese companies pouring in a great deal of money to meet growing demand and a growing robotics industry.

07/23/2016


There have been several major deals involving robotics companies in 2016 with Chinese companies pouring in a great deal of money to meet growing demand and a growing robotics industry. In addition, companies that aren't considered robotics companies are still making a big splash because their corporation needs robotics to thrive in a market that demands speed as well as efficiency. In addition to major deals, there were several fundings, IPOs, and other acquisitions in the month of June.

Major deals announced in June

Kuka AG shareholders were offered $120 per share (a 59.6% premium over the price on the day before the announcement) by Chinese appliance maker Midea. Midea plans to acquire up to 49% of the shares - an investment of up to $2.5 billion predicated on a market value for Kuka of $5.2 billion. Kuka, one of the Big Four of global robot manufacturers, has negotiated a non-domination agreement with Midea which will be in place until the end of 2023. With that agreement, Kuka gave its backing to Midea's offer.

The Kion Group, with funding from their Chinese partner, has acquired Dematic Corp. for $2.1 billion. Kion said that it expects the deal, which is subject to regulatory approval, to close in Q4 2016. Kion's biggest single shareholder is Chinese diesel-engine maker Weichai Power with a 38.3% stake. The company will initially fund the transaction via a €3 billion bridge loan from a group of banks. Kion has been on a tear acquiring all sorts of companies in the logistics sphere: Egemin, Linde, Retrotech and now Dematic.

Uber raised $3.5 billion from Saudi Arabis's Public Investment Fund and placed a director on their board. Although Uber isn't really a robot company, they acquired a whole robotics department from CMU and have plans to work with car manufacturers to make unmanned Uber cars in the near future, hence they are included in this recap. In addition, Uber announced a strategic partnership—which included an investment of an undetermined amount—with Toyota.

Fundings

  • 3D Robotics filed an SEC Notice for a $45 million offering of which $26.7 million had been raised as of the date of filing.
  • Anki, a maker of robotic race-cars and other consumer robots, has raised $52.5 million in new VC funding. J.P. Morgan led the round, and was joined by Andreessen Horowitz, Index Ventures and Two Sigma.
  • Arevo Labs, a 3-D printer using composite materials for production applications, announced a $7M Series A funding round led by Khosla Ventures. Arevo enables direct digital additive manufacturing of ultra strong composite parts for end-use applications using robot-mounted 3D printers.
  • Resson, a global ag data analytics startup, has raised $11 million in a Series B round led by Monsanto Growth Ventures. Other investors include a group of Canadian early stage investors.
  • Kespry, a Menlo Park developer of automated drone systems for commercial use, has raised $16 million in Series B funding. DCM Ventures led the round, and was joined by a group of VCs and individuals.
  • Sentera, a Minneapolis-based integrator of aerial data and analytics software, raised $8.5M in a venture capital round with a group of undisclosed strategic investors. The money will be used to make key hires and to boost product development efforts.
  • Tempo Automation, a San Francisco prototype chip manufacturer, just received an $8 million Series A funding round led by Lux Capital, along with SoftTech, AME, and Bolt, to improve its manufacturing facility, which is already at capacity.
  • uSens Inc., a San Jose, Calif.-based developer of natural hand-and-head tracking technologies for augmented and virtual reality, has raised $20 million in Series A funding led by Fosun Kinzon Capital.
  • Square Robot, a Boston startup, has entered into a strategic partnership with Kraken Sonar for the development of inspection robots for the oil and gas industry. Kraken acquired a minority interest for an undisclosed amount.
  • Agerpoint closed a $1.2M venture capital round. Agerpoint provides information management solutions to tree and vine crop growers. Based in Orlando, Fla., the company's platform includes data acquisition, analytics, and action scenarios for growers.
  • IAM Robotics, a Pittsburgh logistics technology startup, got $450k in convertible debt funding from Comet Labs (in April).

IPOs and stock manipulations

Ekso Bionics did a 7 for 1 stock split (in May) to get the stock price out of the penny category in the hopes of qualifying to get onto the NASDAQ exchange. In April, Ekso received FDA approval for the use of their GT products for spinal cord and stroke recovery. In December 2015, Ekso acquired the ZeroG and AR technologies and IP from Equipois. Their technology is designed to allows payloads to be maneuvered as if weightless.

Deveron Resources Ltd., a Canadian mineral resources company listed on the Toronto Ventures OTC market, acquired a UAS company and is repositioning itself as a UAS service provider. Deveron finalized a non-brokered private placement financing of $550k.

Other acquisitions

SVIA, a Swedish integrator of machine-tending solutions and cells, was acquired by ABB for an undisclosed amount. The acquisition expands ABB's machine tending portfolio with a wider variety of advanced and vision-integrated applications for industries including automotive, plastics and electronics such as smartphone manufacturing.

Gimatic, an Italian gripper maker, was acquired by European-Asian equity fund Agic Capital for an undisclosed sum estimated by the Financial Times to be between $112-$169 million. In January, Agic Capital, together with China National Chemical Corp and Chinese state fund Guoxin International Investment Corp, purchased Germany's KraussMaffei Group for 925 million euros.

Failures

  • Sun Synchrony
  • QBotix (last year)
  • Torquing Group (Zano) (Dec 2015)

Frank Tobe is the owner and publisher of The Robot Report.Frank Tobe is the owner and publisher of The Robot Report. After selling his business and retiring from 25-plus years in computer direct marketing and materials, consulting to the Democratic National Committee, as well as major presidential, senatorial, congressional, mayoral campaigns and initiatives all across the U.S., Canada and internationally, he has energetically pursued a new career in researching and investing in robotics. This article originally appeared on The Robot Report. The Robot Report is a CFE Media content partner. Edited by Chris Vavra, production editor, CFE Media, cvavra@cfemedia.com.

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