- Reactive Robotics, a Munich startup developing rehab robotics for hospitals with ICUs for mechanically ventilated, neurological or trauma patients, raised an amount estimated to be around $2.5 million led by MTIP MedTech Innovation Partners AG, High-Tech Gründerfonds, Bayern Kapital, TQ-Group, and Dr. Doll Holding GmbH. Reactive Robotics said it expects to deliver its 1st clinical test product by the 1st quarter of 2018.
- Betterview, a San Francisco-based software startup that can analyze detailed aerial footage captured by drones, raised $2 million. Compound Venture Capital led the round, and was joined by investors Maiden Re, 645 Ventures, Arab Angel, Winklevoss Capital, Chestnut Street Ventures, Pierre Valade, Haystackand MetaProp.
- Sea Machines Robotics, a Boston startup developing unmanned marine systems, raised $1.5 million (in May) in a round led by Connecticut-based LaunchCapital with participation from Cambridge-based venture capital firm Accomplice, Techstars, LDV Capital, and the Geekdom Fund. Sea Machines provides software and hardware to turn existing boats into autonomous vehicles.
Fundings (amount unknown)
SharkNinja, a home products distributor, raised an undisclosed sum from CDH investments, a large private equity fund, who said they purchased “a significant equity interest.” No amounts were disclosed. SharkNinja launched a Roomba-like robot vacuum to their line of products — at half the price of iRobot’s Roomba. Analysts are saying that SharkNinja “is a credible threat to iRobot” given its knack for marketing, as well as engineering high-quality products at value price points — two strengths that helped it successfully take market share from Dyson in recent years in the upright-vacuum market.
Acutronic Robotics, a Swiss company providing multi-axis motion simulators, has received Series A funding from the Sony Innovation Fund. No financial details were given. Funds will be used to enable Acutronic to accelerate the development of their Hardware Robot Operating System (H-ROS), to compete with ROS-I and legacy software from robot manufacturers. “H-ROS aims to change the landscape of robotics by creating an ecosystem where hardware components can be reused among different robots, regardless of the original manufacturer. We strongly believe that the future of robotics will be about modular robots that can be easily repaired and reconfigured. H-ROS aims to shape this future.”
Ocean Aero, a San Diego unmanned marine systems startup, raised an undisclosed amount from Lockheed Martin Ventures. “Ocean Aero represents the next generation of environmentally powered, autonomous ocean systems. Our investment will allow us to better respond to customers’ maritime needs with technology solutions for a diverse set of missions,” said Chris Moran, ED and GM of Lockheed Martin Ventures.
- John Deere, the farm equipment manufacturer, acquired Blue River Technology, a Silicon Valley AI and farm equipment startup for $305 million. Blue River has honed their See & Spray and Sense & Decide devices to analyze every plant in a field and apply herbicides only to weeds and overly crowded plants needing thinning thereby dramatically reducing the amount of chemicals used. Their robots are towed behind a tractor similar to conventional spraying equipment but Blue River’s towed implements have onboard cameras that use machine-learning software to distinguish between crops and weeds, and automated sprayers to target and spray the unwanted plants. Further, Blue River devices have a second set of cameras to automatically check its work as it operates and to gather data on the tens of thousands of plants in each field so that its analytics software can continue improving the devices and the process. Daniel Theobald, Founder and Chief Innovation Officer at Vecna, a Cambridge, MA provider of mobile robots, said:“It’s a smart move by Deere. They realize the time window in which ag industry execs will continue to buy dumb equipment is rapidly coming to a close. The race to automate is on and traditional equipment manufacturers who don’t embrace automation will face extinction. Agriculture is ripe for the benefits that robotics has to offer. Automation allows farmers to decrease water use, reduce the use of pesticides and other methods that are no longer sustainable, and helps solve ever worsening labor shortages.”
OMRON, the Japanese company that acquired robot maker Adept Technology last year, has just acquired Microscan Systems, the Renton, WA-based barcode reading and machine vision systems company, for $157 million. Microscan was a wholly owned subsidiary of UK-based Spectris Plc.
Neato Robotics, the California maker of home robot vacuums, was acquired by German appliance maker Vorwerk. Financial terms were not disclosed. Vorwerk invested in Neato back in 2010 but now has completely acquired Neato outright and fully owns its business and technology, which could help the international operation expand into the growing robotic vacuum industry.
Siemens, the German conglomerate, acquired Tass International for an undisclosed amount. Tass develops software that simulates traffic scenarios, validates autonomous driving and replicates ADAS (advanced driver assistance systems) in crash testing. It has 200 employees and annual revenue of around $32 million.
Precision Planting, a developer and reseller of mechanical, monitoring and control systems for precision ag applications, was acquired by AGCO, a global manufacturer and distributor of ag equipment, for an undisclosed amount. Precision Planting was a subsidiary of The Climate Corporation (a subsidiary of Monsanto).
Nabors Industries, an oil and gas drilling company, has acquired Robotic Drilling Systems, a Norwegian provider of a system for unmanned drill-floor operations. No figures were disclosed regarding the transaction.
- Restoration Robotics, a Silicon Valley FDA-approved robotic hair transplant startup, has filed to be listed on NASDAQ under the symbol HAIR. They plan to offer 3.125 million shares priced at around $8 per share — a $25 million IPO. It is expected to price during the week of October 9, 2017. If that price holds, it would establish a market value of $225 million for the company.