Delivering Cutting Edge Industry Insight And Competitive Intelligence

July 2017 Robotics Fundings, Acquisitions, IPOs and Failures

July, 2017 was a big month for robotics-related company funding. Four raised more than $100 million and 15 others raised $271 million for a monthly total of $919 million. Acquisitions also continued to be significant with ST Engineering acquiring Aethon for $36 million, iRobot buying its European distributor for $141 million while SoftBank purchased 5% of iRobot shares for around $120 million



  • Plenty, a San Francisco vertical farm startup, raised $200 million in a Series B round led by SoftBank and included Bezos Expeditions, Data Collective, DCM Ventures, Finistere Ventures, Innovation Endeavors and Louis Bacon. Plenty plans to use the funds to expand to Japan and add strawberries and cucumbers to the leafy greens they already produce. Plenty makes an internet-connected system which delivers specific types of light, air composition, humidity and nutrition, depending on which crop is being grown. Plenty says it can yield up to 350 times more produce in a given area than conventional farms — with 1 percent of the water.

    Sanjeev Krishnan of S2G Ventures said: “This investment shows the potential of the sector. Indoor agriculture is a real toolkit for the produce industry. There is no winner takes all potential here. I could even see some traditional, outdoor growers do indoor ag as a way to manage some of the fundamental issues of the produce industry: agronomy, logistics costs, shrinkage, freshness, seasonality and manage inventory cycles better. There are many different models that could work and we are excited about the platforms being built in the market.”

  • Nauto, a Silicon Valley self-driving device and AI startup, raised $159 million in a Series B funding round led by SoftBank and Greylock Partners and also included previous investors BMW iVentures, General Motors Ventures, Toyota AI Ventures, Allianz Group, Playground Global and Draper Nexus

    SoftBank Group Corp. Chairman and CEO Masayoshi Son said, “While building an increasingly intelligent telematics business, Nauto is also generating a highly valuable dataset for autonomous driving, at massive scale. This data will help accelerate the development and adoption of safe, effective self-driving technology.”

  • Desktop Metal, the MIT spin-off and Massachusetts-based 3D metal printing technology startup, raised another $115 million in a Series D round which included New Enterprise Associates, GV (Google Ventures), GE Ventures, Future Fund and Techtronic Industries which owns Hoover U.S. and Dirt Devil.

    According to CEO Ric Fulop, “You don’t need tooling. You can make short runs of production with basically no tooling costs. You can change your design and iterate very fast. You can make shapes you couldn’t make any other way, so now you can lightweight a part and work with alloys that are very, very hard, with very extreme properties. One of the benefits for this technology for robotics is that you’re able to do lots of turns. Unless you’re iRobot with the Roomba, you’re making a lot of one-off changes to your product.”

  • Brain Corp, a San Diego AI company developing self-driving technology, got $114 million in a Series C funding round led by the SoftBank Vision Fund.
  • Beijing Geekplus Technology (Geek+), a Chinese startup developing a goods-to-man warehousing system of robots and software very similar to Kiva System’s products, raised $60 million in a B round led by Warburg Pincus and joined by existing shareholders and Volcanics Venture. The company claims to have delivered the largest numbers of logistics robots among its peers in China, delivering nearly 1,000 units of robots in warehouses for over 20 customers that include Tmall, VIPShop and Suning.

    Yong Zheng, Founder and CEO of Geek+, said, “This round of financing will help us upgrade our business in three aspects. Firstly, we will accelerate the upgrading of our logistics robotics products and expand product offerings to cover more applications.” “Secondly, we will accelerate our geographical expansion and industry coverage to provide our one-stop intelligent logistics system and operation solutions to more customers. Thirdly, we will start exploring overseas markets through multiple channels.”

  • Vicarious, a Union City, Calif.-based artificial intelligence company using computational neuroscience to build better machine learning models that help robots quickly address a wide variety of tasks, raised $50 million funding led by Khosla Ventures.
  •, a Beijing autonomous driving startup that is developing digital maps, driving decision solutions and machine vision technology to detect traffic signs, pedestrians and track other cars, raised $46 million in a Series B funding round led by NIO Capital. Sequoia Capital China and Hillhouse Capital along with Daimler AG, Shunwei Capital, Sinovation Ventures and Unity Ventures also participated.
  • Autotalk, an Israeli chip maker of vehicle to vehicle communications, raised $40 million from Toyota, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking and other investors. The funding will allow Autotalks to prepare and expand its operations for the upcoming start of mass productions as well as continue to develop communication solutions for both connected and autonomous cars.
  • Slamtec,  a Chinese company developing a solid state LiDAR laser sensor for robots in auto localization and navigation, raised $22 million from Chinese Academy of Sciences Holdings, ChinaEquity Group Inc. and Shenzhen Guozhong Venture Capital Management Co.
  • 6 River Systems, the Boston, MA startup providing alternative fulfillment solutions for e-commerce distribution centers, raised $15 million in a round led by Norwest Venture Partners with participation from  Eclipse Ventures and other existing investors.
  • Prospera, an Israeli ag startup, raised $15 million in a Series B round for its end-to-end internet of things platform for indoor and outdoor farms. The round was led Qualcomm Ventures  and fellow telecom heavyweight Cisco. Propsera uses computer vision, machine learning, and data science to detect and identify diseases, nutrient deficiencies, and other types of crop stress on farms with the hope of improving crop yields and saving farmer costs.

    “Receiving funding from these major tech companies is a clear signal that tech industry heavy-hitters understand that agriculture is ripe for digitalization. It means that such companies, which are already involved in digitizing other traditional industries, see a significant opportunity in agtech,” said Prospera CEO Daniel Koppel.

  • Embark, a Belmont, Calif.-based self-driving trucking startup, raised $15 million in Series A funding led by Data Collective and was joined by YC Continuity, Maven Ventures and SV Angel. Embark has teamed up with Peterbilt and plans to hire for their engineering team and add more trucks to expand their test fleet across the U.S.
  • Xometry, a Maryland startup with an Uber-like system for parts manufacture, raised $15 million in funding led by BMW Groups’ VC arm and GE.
  • Intuition Robotics, an Israeli startup developing social companion technologies for seniors, raised $14 million in a Series A round led by Toyota Research Institute plus OurCrowd and iRobot as well as existing seed investors Maniv Mobility, Terra Venture Partners, Bloomberg Beta and private investors.

    Dr. Gill Pratt, CEO of Toyota Research Institute said: “We are impressed with Intuition Robotics’ thought leadership of a multi-disciplinary approach towards a compelling product offering for older adults including: Human-Robot-Interaction, cloud robotics, machine learning, and design. Specifically, we believe Intuition Robotics’ technology, in the field of cognitive computing, has strong potential to positively impact the world’s aging population with a proactive, truly autonomous agent that’s deployed in their social robot, ElliQ.”

  • SkySafe, a San Diego, Calif.-based radio-wave anti-drone device manufacturer, raised $11.5 million in Series A funding, according to TechCrunch. Andreessen Horowitz led the round. SkySafe recently secured DoD contracts to provide counter-drone tech for Navy Seals.
  • Reach Robotics, a gaming robots developer, raised $7.5 million in Series A funding led by Korea Investment Partners and IGlobe. Reach has produced and sold an initial run of 500 of its four-legged, crab-like, MekaMon bots. MekaMon fits into an emerging category of smartphone-enabled augmented reality toys like Anki.
  • UVeye, a New York-based startup that develops automatic vehicle inspection systems, has raised $4.5 million in a seed round led by Ahaka Capital. Israeli angel investors group SeedIL Investment Club also participated. Funds will be used to launch its products and expand to international markets, including China.
  • Miso Robotics, the Pasadena-based developer of a burger-flipping robot, raised $3.1 million in a funding round led by Acacia Research. Interestingly, Acacia is an agency that licenses patents and also enforces patented technologies.
  • Metamoto, the Redwood City autonomous driving simulation startup, raised $2 million in seed funding led by Motus Ventures and UL, a strategic investor.
  • Fastbrick, an Australian brick-laying startup, raised $2 million from Caterpillar with an option to invest a further $8 million subject to shareholder approval. Both companies signed an agreement to collaborate on the development, manufacture, selling and servicing of Fastbrick’s technology mounted on Caterpillar equipment.


  • Robopolis SAS, the France-based distributor of iRobot products in Europe, is being acquired by iRobot for $141 million. Last year iRobot, in a similar move, acquired Demand Corp, their distributor for Japan.
  • Bright Agrotech, a Wyoming provider of vertical farming products, technology and systems, was acquired by Plenty, a vertical farm startup in San Francisco. No financial terms were disclosed. Bright has partnered with small farmers fto start and grow indoor farms, providing high-tech growing systems and controls, workflow design, education and software.
  • Singapore Technologies Engineering Ltd (ST Engineering) has acquired robotics firm Aethon Inc through Vision Technologies Land Systems, Inc. (VTLS), and its wholly- owned subsidiary, VT Robotics, Inc for $36 million. This acquisition will be carried out by way of a merger with VT Robotics, a special purpose vehicle newly incorporated for the proposed transaction. The merger will see Aethon as the surviving entity that will operate as a subsidiary of VTLS, and will be part of the Group’s Land Systems sector.
  • On the Move Systems, a Canadian penny stock trucking systems provider, is merging with California-based RAD (Robotic Assistance Devices), an integrator of mobile robots for security applications. The merger involves RAD receiving 3.5 million shares of OMVS (around $250k).

IPOs and stock transactions

iRobot, the 27-year-old Massachusetts-based maker of the Roomba, has seen its stock soar from news of a purchase of an undisclosed amount of iRobot stock by SoftBank (or the SoftBank Vision Fund). The purchase is reported to be over $100 million and less than $120 million (5% of the market value). Also news that iRobot is acquiring their European distributor.

Pearl Automation


Originally published on The Robot Report. Contributed by Frank Tobe, co-founder of ROBO Global.

You are now leaving the ROBO Global website. The following landing page may contain information concerning investments, products or other information. Exchange Traded Concepts LLC, the Fund Advisor are not responsible for the accuracy or completeness of information on non-affiliated websites. The material available on non-affiliated websites has been produced by the entities that are not affiliated with Exchange Traded Concepts LLC. Descriptions of, references to, or links to products or publications within any non-affiliated linked website does not imply endorsement of that product or publication by Exchange Traded Concepts LLC. Any opinions or recommendations from non-affiliated websites are solely those of the independent providers and are not the opinions or recommendations of Exchange Traded Concepts LLC, which is not responsible for any inaccuracies or errors.


You are now leaving the ROBO Global Partners Ltd website and being directed to ETF Securities (UK) Limited which is authorized and regulated by the United Kingdom Financial Conduct Authority (the “FCA”). By clicking “OK”, you acknowledge that you are someone authorized to undertake investment activities relating to the Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs). IN addition, you understand that ROBO Global Partners Ltd is not making any financial promotion or carrying out any regulated activity of said products. The following landing page may contain information concerning investments, products or other information. ETF Securities (UK) Limited is not responsible for the accuracy or completeness of information on non-affiliated websites. The material available on non-affiliated websites has been produced by entities that are not affiliated with ETF Securities (UK) Limited. Descriptions of references to, or links to products or publications within any non-affiliated linked websites does not imply endorsement of that product or publication by ETF Securities (UK) Limited. Any opinions or recommendations from non-affiliated websites are solely those of the independent providers and are not the opinions or recommendations of ETF Securities (UK) Limited, which is not responsible for any inaccuracies or errors.


ROBO Global Privacy Policy

This privacy policy has been compiled to better serve those who are concerned with how their 'Personally identifiable information' (PII) is being used online. PII, as used in US privacy law and information security, is information that can be used on its own or with other information to identify, contact, or locate a single person, or to identify an individual in context. Please read our privacy policy carefully to get a clear understanding of how we collect, use, protect or otherwise handle your Personally Identifiable Information in accordance with our website.
What personal information do we collect from the people that visit our blog, website or app?
When subscribing or registering on our site, as appropriate, you may be asked to enter your name or email address.
When do we collect information?
We collect information from you when you register on our site, subscribe to a newsletter, fill out a form or enter information on our site.
How do we use your information?
We may use the information we collect from you when you register, sign up for our newsletter, respond to a survey or marketing communication or use certain other site features in the following ways:
  • To administer a contest, promotion, survey or other site feature.
  • To send periodic emails regarding our firm.
How do we protect visitor information?
We do not use vulnerability scanning and/or scanning to PCI standards.
We do not use Malware Scanning.
We do not use an SSL certificate
  • We do not need an SSL because:
We don't keep information on website
Do we use 'cookies'?
You can choose to have your computer warn you each time a cookie is being sent, or you can choose to turn off all cookies. You do this through your browser (like Internet Explorer) settings. Each browser is a little different, so look at your browser's Help menu to learn the correct way to modify your cookies.
If you disable cookies off, some features will be disabled that make your site experience more efficient and some of our services will not function properly.
Third Party Disclosure
We do not sell, trade, or otherwise transfer to outside parties your personally identifiable information.
Third party links
We do not include or offer third party products or services on our website.
We have implemented the following:
  • Google Display Network Impression Reporting
  • Demographics and Interests Reporting
We along with third-party vendors, such as Google use first-party cookies (such as the Google Analytics cookies) and third-party cookies (such as the DoubleClick cookie) or other third-party identifiers together to compile data regarding user interactions with ad impressions, and other ad service functions as they relate to our website.
Opting out:
Users can set preferences for how Google advertises to you using the Google Ad Settings page. Alternatively, you can opt out by visiting the Network Advertising initiative opt out page or permanently using the Google Analytics Opt Out Browser add on.
California Online Privacy Protection Act
CalOPPA is the first state law in the nation to require commercial websites and online services to post a privacy policy. The law's reach stretches well beyond California to require a person or company in the United States (and conceivably the world) that operates websites collecting personally identifiable information from California consumers to post a conspicuous privacy policy on its website stating exactly the information being collected and those individuals with whom it is being shared, and to comply with this policy. - See more at:
According to CalOPPA we agree to the following:
Users can visit our site anonymously
Once this privacy policy is created, we will add a link to it on our home page, or as a minimum on the first significant page after entering our website.
Our Privacy Policy link includes the word 'Privacy', and can be easily be found on the page specified above.
Users will be notified of any privacy policy changes:
  • On our Privacy Policy Page
Users are able to change their personal information:
  • By emailing us
How does our site handle do not track signals?
We honor do not track signals and do not track, plant cookies, or use advertising when a Do Not Track (DNT) browser mechanism is in place.
Does our site allow third party behavioral tracking?
It's also important to note that we do not allow third party behavioral tracking
COPPA (Children Online Privacy Protection Act)
When it comes to the collection of personal information from children under 13, the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) puts parents in control. The Federal Trade Commission, the nation's consumer protection agency, enforces the COPPA Rule, which spells out what operators of websites and online services must do to protect children's privacy and safety online.
We do not specifically market to children under 13.
Fair Information Practices
The Fair Information Practices Principles form the backbone of privacy law in the United States and the concepts they include have played a significant role in the development of data protection laws around the globe. Understanding the Fair Information Practice Principles and how they should be implemented is critical to comply with the various privacy laws that protect personal information.
In order to be in line with Fair Information Practices we will take the following responsive action, should a data breach occur:
  • Within 7 business days
We will notify the users via in site notification
  • Within 7 business days
We also agree to the individual redress principle, which requires that individuals have a right to pursue legally enforceable rights against data collectors and processors who fail to adhere to the law. This principle requires not only that individuals have enforceable rights against data users, but also that individuals have recourse to courts or a government agency to investigate and/or prosecute non-compliance by data processors.
The CAN-SPAM Act is a law that sets the rules for commercial email, establishes requirements for commercial messages, gives recipients the right to have emails stopped from being sent to them, and spells out tough penalties for violations.
To be in accordance with CANSPAM we agree to the following:
If at any time you would like to unsubscribe from receiving future emails, you can email us at
and we will promptly remove you from ALL correspondence.
Contacting Us
If there are any questions regarding this privacy policy you may contact us using the information below.
300 Crescent Court, Suite 840
Dallas, TX 75201
214 272 2710