I’ll Be Back!
The area of Deep Tech that is exciting for many laypersons and specialists alike is in Robotics — maybe it’s because thoughts of them from movies such as The Terminator, Blade Runner, Westworld or Ghost in The Shell come to mind. And although these presentations of robots stir our imaginations, they are not really what many startups in the space are offering in late 2021.
We shouldn’t be disappointed by this, though, for who wants a robot-like Arnie running around with a gun killing all and sundry?
On a more anodyne note, I have listed here five robotics startups that are changing the face of the industry. For the most part, they offer technological solutions in automation, planning, predicting and goods delivery, not as sexy as Sonny from I, Robot but that’s for another story.
1. Scaled Robotics
Scaled Robotics leverages ultra-modern in Computer Vision, ML and AI technology via its web-based and analysis software to issue precise construction quality and progress information so clients can track, analyze and optimize the construction process.
Founded in 2014 by roboticist and computer scientist Bharath Sankaran and computational designer Stuart Maggs, to date Scaled Robotics has raised a total of €3 million in funding over two rounds with the likes of VCs Construct Venture and Surplus Invest supporting the startup.
Covariant — a Berkeley, California-based startup founded in 2017 by Peter Chen, Pieter Abbeel, Rocky Duan, and Tianhao Zhang — is building universal AI that allows robots to see, reason and act on the world around them whose IP has foundations from experience at Berkeley and OpenAI.
With a massive $147 million in funding invested in the startup over five rounds, the latest raised in July 2021 from a Series C round valued at some $80 million and led by Index Ventures, Covariant’s robots learn general skills such as robust 3D perception, physical affordances of objects, few-shot learning and real-time motion planning, allowing them to adapt to new tasks just like people do — by breaking down complex tasks into simple steps and applying general skills to complete them.
3. XACT Robotics
XACT Robotics is an Israeli robotics startup focused on advancing the field of radiology by developing the world’s first and only hands-free robotic solutions that can significantly improve targeting accuracy, efficiency, and consistency in percutaneous radiology procedures.
Founded in 2013 by seasoned executive and entrepreneur in the health care space Harel Gadot, the XACT Robotic System is designed to be compatible with a broad range of imaging modalities, capable of delivering various instruments to the desired target with unprecedented accuracy, consistency and efficiency.
The impressive $51 million in funding XACT Robotics has raised over four rounds can only augment its technological development and scope of services in the future.
4. Freedom Robotics
Based in San Francisco, California, Freedom Robotics creates mission-critical software infrastructure to enable the next generation of robotics companies to build, operate, support, and scale robots and robotic fleets, all done utilizing platform-agnostic technology that works with any robot and installs in seconds with just one line of code in order to help robotics companies bring their product to market ten times faster with half the resources.
The startup was founded in 2018 by Dimitri Onistsuk, Hans Lee and Joshua Wilson and has raised a total of $6.6 million in funding over two rounds.
5. Refraction AI
With headquarters far away from Silicon Valley in the Great Lakes region of the Midwestern United States (An Arbor, Michigan), Refraction AI is manufacturing and deploying robotic platforms to provide safe and scalable last-mile goods delivery in urban areas for industries such as the food delivery service from restaurants to customers through its self-driving robot REV-1.
Refraction AI was founded in 2017 by Matthew Johnson-Roberson, an Associate Professor of Robotics at the University of Michigan College of Engineering, and Ram Vasudevan, an Assistant Professor in Mechanical Engineering at the same college.
Since its founding, the startup has raised a total of $8.4 million in funding over three rounds.