August fundings, acquisitions, and failures in the robotics industry
August was another big month for funding robotic startups. 18 deals. Almost $430 million (bringing the year-to-date total well over $1 billion). There were also four acquisitions in August that cost another $1 billion.
- Airobotics, an Israeli UAV startup focusing on providing an all-purpose drone solution for industrial applications, raised $22.5 million (in February). Funders, led by CRV, included BlueRun Ventures, Noam Bardin, Richard Wooldridge and UpWest Labs. The company has 70 employees.
- Blue Ocean Robotics, a Danish VC and accelerator, announced that an anonymous private investor bought 6.7% of Blue Ocean shares for $1.5 million. Blue Ocean intends to sell over 33% of their shares to get funds to finance their rapid growth (from 3 people in 2013 to 110 people today, plus 21 associated companies in 11 countries).
- DroneDeploy, a San Francisco-based startup has raised $20 million in Series B funding to (1) grow their drone data management platform and (2) for hiring, product development, sales and marketing. Scale Venture Partners led the investment and was joined by High Alpha Fund. The DroneDeploy platform allows users to plan flights, pilot drones either one at a time or in fleet formations, and gather and analyze myriad data types to create detailed maps and 3-D models. The funding brings the company’s total capital raised to $31 million.
- Emotech, the UK-based maker of the Olly robot, a product similar to Amazon’s Echo device, has raised $10 million from Chinese venture investors Alliance Capital and Lightning Capital.
- Farmbot, a Central California startup offering an open source DIY robot and system for home gardens, raise $813,000 from a crowdfunding campaign.
- Farmers Business Network, an Iowa-based developer of an an agricultural industry software and analytics system, raised $20 million to help farmers avoid spending on what they don’t need as they provide data to help compete with Monsanto and Dupont.
- Formlabs, a designer and manufacturer of 3D printing systems based in Somerville, Mass., has raised $35 million in Series B funding from Foundry Group and Autodesk.
- Glowforge, a Seattle-based 3D laser printer company, has raised $22 million in Series B funding. The round was led by Foundry Group and True Ventures. Last year Glowforge set a crowdfunding record by raising $27.9 million in just 30 days. Glowforge printers are designed to be used to cut and engrave on pretty much any surface.
- Innoviz Technologies, an Israel-based developer of sensors and systems for autonomous vehicles, has raised $9 million in Series A funding. The round included Vertex Venture Capital, Magma Venture Partners, Amiti Ventures, and Delek Investments. Innoviz joins two other LiDAR makers getting funding this month: Velodyne and Quanergy.
- Kraken Sonar Inc., a Canadian startup providing sonar, sensors and underwater robotics systems, closed a non-brokered private placement of 7,159,534 shares at a purchase price of $0.12 (USD) per share totaling $827,126.
- Mavrx, a San Francisco-based developer of aerial imagery technologies focused on the agricultural industry and big data, has secured $12.42 million of a Series A round, according to a regulatory filing.
- MicaSense, a Seattle-based agriculture sensor maker, raised $7.4 million from French drone and electronics company Parrot. The recent round piggybacks on Parrots’ previous $2m investment in the company in 2014. MicaSense creates sensor devices that attach to drones. RedEdge, its first product, is a multispectral camera able to capture data over precise wavelengths.
- NVBots, a Boston-based developer of automated 3D printing solutions, has raised an undisclosed amount of Series A funding led by Woodman Asset Management.
- Petnet, a Los Angeles startup providing personalized feeding for pets, raised $10 million in a Series A financing. Petco led the round.
- Prenav, a Silicon Valley unmanned aerial systems startup, raised $6.5 million in seed financing from lead investor Crosslink Capital, along with Haystack, Liquid 2 Ventures, WI Harper Group and investors Pear Ventures, Toivo Annus, and a number of other investors.
- Quanergy Systems Inc., a Sunnyvale, Calif.-based provider of solid state LiDAR sensors and smart sensing solutions, has raised $90 million at a valuation of over $1 billion. Backers include Sensata Technologies, Delphi Automotive, Samsung Ventures, Motus Ventures and GP Capital.
- Seegrid, a maker of vision-based autonomous industrial vehicles and systems, announced today that the company has raised approximately $12M of equity capital from Giant Eagle, its majority shareholder, and several other existing and new investors, and has a commitment for an additional $13M from Giant Eagle as needed.
- Velodyne LiDAR, a Morgan Hill, Calif.-based provider of technology that lets self-driving cars see and avoid what’s around them, has raised $150 million in equity funding from Ford Motor Co. and Baidu. Velodyne expects an exponential increase in LiDAR sensor deployments in autonomous vehicles and ADAS applications over the next several years, driving high revenue growth. To fulfill the high demand for Velodyne’s products, the company will continue to expand its resources across engineering, operations and manufacturing. In connection with this minority investment round, the Company plans to expand its board of directors to include two independent industry executives.
- Bionik Labs, a Canadian provider of rehab solutions for individuals with neurological disorders, acquired all of the outstanding shares, assets and liabilities of Interactive Motion Technologies, a Watertown, MA provider of upper extremity rehab robotics, in April, for $23.65 million.
- DPE Deutsche Private Equity has agreed to sell Westfalia Group, a German maker of towing equipment and integrator of robotic warehousing solutions, to Horizon Global Corp. for around $186 million (including assumed debt).
- Otto Motors, a SF startup developing self-driving truck system kits, was acquired by Uber for an undisclosed amount. The deal was worth about 0.9% of Uber. Also part of the deal, Otto gets 20% of any trucking business profits they end up creating. Anthony Levandowski, a former Google engineer and one of Otto’s founders, will take charge of Uber’s self-driving car operations as well as continuing to run Otto’s trucking business.
- Zimmer Biomet has entered the growing surgical robotics field with the purchase of France’s Medtech for an estimated $132 million. According to an SEC filing, Zimmer Biomet agreed to buy 1.4 million shares from founder Bertin Nahum and other stockholders at a price of $55 per share, as well as all outstanding convertible bonds and warrants previously issued by Medtech to private equity firm Ally Bridge Group. In addition, as soon as possible, and subject to review by the French federal regulator, Zimmer will make an all-cash tender offer to acquire the balance of Medtech shares.
IPOs and stock related:
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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, email@example.com.
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