in january 2020, reported transactions among robotics, drone, autonomous vehicles, and artificial intelligence companies totaled $1.16 billion. there were fewer deals around self-driving vehicles than in the past several months, but investors still supported supply chain, surgical systems, and agricultural automation.
By comparison,The Robot Report and sibling site reported $1.9 billion in transactions in December 2019, and $644 million in January 2019. The number of investments climbed to 40 last month, compared with 25 in the previous month and 25 a year ago.
微信红包接龙二维码at the same time, the world’s biggest robotics makers — abb, fanuc, kuka, and yaskawa — reported slowdowns for the year. that orders for robotics and discrete automation dropped 18% to $732 million in earnings before interest, taxes, and amortization (ebita).
zurich-based abb that orders declined by 11%, reflecting “softening global economic and substantial headwinds in discrete markets, particularly automotive and machine builders,” as well as in china.
微信红包接龙二维码“although sales increased both for the automobile industry and for the general industries in japan and remained solid in the americas, sales in china and europe, both for the automobile industry and for the general industries, remained sluggish,” japan-based fanuc corp.
KUKA AG’s net income growth fell by 85.65% year over year, The Wall Street Journal微信红包接龙二维码. Germany-based KUKA is owned by China’s Midea Group. Japan-based Yaskawa Electric Corp. that the decline in industrial automation demand from China for the past few quarters, so the outlook for 2020 might be brighter.
The table below lists fundings in millions of U.S. dollars, where amounts were publicly available:
Robotics investments, January 2020
|Company||Amt. (M$)||Type||Lead investor, partner||Date||Technology|
|Abundant Robotics Inc.||investment||Kubota Corp.||Jan. 9||harvesting robot|
|Airlook||14||Series B+||GF Qianhe||Jan. 16||3D drone mapping|
|AirWorks Solutions Inc.||1.4||equity||Jan. 2||AI modeling|
|AutoFlightX||investment||TDK Ventures||Jan. 30||drone deliveries|
|AutoX Technologies Inc.||pre-Series B||Shenzhen Qianhai Hongzhao Fund||Jan. 20||autonomous vehicles|
|Bear Robotics Inc.||32||Series A||SoftBank||Jan. 22||robot waiters|
|Berkshire Grey||263||Series B||SoftBank, Khosla Ventures, New Enterprise Associates, Canaan||Jan. 21||pick and place|
|Clobotics||10||pre-Series B||Tiger Management Fund||Jan. 17||computer vision|
|Converge||0.75||seed||Jan. 25||AI drone software|
|Covariant||emerged from stealth||Jan. 29||AI, machine vision|
|DFRobot||1.42||Series B||Cash Capital||Jan. 3||educational robotics|
|Dimension Robotics||Series B||Jan. 23||educational, rehab robots|
|Draganfly Inc.||IPO||Jan. 9||aerial drones|
|DroneUp||0.75||early stage VC||The Center for Innovative Technology||Jan. 7||drone pilot management|
|Fieldwork Robotics Ltd.||0.393||share sale, loan||Frontier IP||Jan. 14||fruit-picking robot|
|Hesai Technology||173||Series C||Lightspeed China Partners, Bosch||Jan. 8||lidar|
|Inaho||investment||Jan. 23||harvesting robot|
|Inertial Sense LLC||investment||Jan. 27||navigation systems|
|Invento Makerspaces||0.281||secondary||A91 Partners||Jan. 20||humanoid service robot|
|Kneron||73||Series A||Horizons Ventures||Jan. 23||edge processing|
|Matternet||Series A2||McKesson Ventures||Jan. 15||drone deliveries|
|Microbot Medical||9||stock sale||Jan. 6||disposable surgical system|
|Misty Robotics||2.2||investment||Shea Ventures||Jan. 23||personal robots|
|Naio Technologies SAS||15.57||Series A||Pymwymic/BPIFrance||Jan. 9||weeding robots|
|NextNav LLC||120||equity sale||Fortress Investment Group||Jan. 15||indoor navigation|
|Percipio XYZ||Series A+||Pan-Lin Asset Management||Jan. 1||machine vision|
|Red Dot Drone||investment||Taiwan Sports Innovation Accelerator||Jan. 17||drone autonomy|
|Red Mountain Scientific||0.25||angel||Jan. 8||drone inspections|
|RoboK Ltd.||investment||Jan. 7||AI robot controls|
|Rovco||6.5||investment||Foresight Williams Technology EIS Fund||Jan. 14||ROVs, computer vision|
|Skilancer Solar||investment||Venture Catalysts||Jan. 8||solar panel cleaning robot|
|Skyqraft AB||0.505||investment||Antler||Jan. 13||drone inspections|
|Soft Robotics Inc.||23||Series B||Calibrate Ventures, Material Impact, FANUC||Jan. 20||soft grippers|
|Surgitec||investment||Jan. 14||surgical robots|
|Trifo Inc.||15||Series B||Yidu Cloud, Tshinghua AI Fund, Matrix Partners||Jan. 2||robotic vacuum|
|Vecna Robotics||50||Series B||Blackhorn Ventures||Jan. 7||autonomous lifts|
|Virtual Incision Corp.||20||Series B||Bluestem Capital||Jan. 8||surgical robots|
|Voliro AG||0.051||investment||ESA BIC Switzerland||Jan. 23||drone inspections|
|Yuanda Robotics GmbH||22||Series A+||Shenyang Yuanda Aluminum Industry Group||Jan. 28||collaborative robots|
|ZAP Surgical Systems Inc.||81||equity financing||Primavera Capital Group||Jan. 8||surgical robots|
There were seven robotics acquisitions in January 2020, compared with nine in December 2019 and five in January 2019. See also our roundup of the largest mergers and acquisitions微信红包接龙二维码 from the past year. Here are the past month’s deals:
Robotics acquisitions, January 2020
|Company||Amt. (M$)||Acquirer, partner||Date||Technology|
|Andrew Alliance SA||Waters Corp.||Jan. 13||laboratory automation|
|Dronelogics Systems Inc.||1.5||Draganfly Inc.||Jan. 16||aerial drones|
|eMotion Controls Co.||Material Handling Solutions Inc.||Jan. 23||motion control|
|Interob SL||Jenoptik Group||Jan. 27||industrial automation|
|QfeelTech||30||JS Global Lifestyle||Jan. 8||AI, home robots|
|Tokyo Robotics Inc.||Yamaha Motor Co.||Jan. 21||cobots|
|Xnor.ai||200||Apple Inc.||Jan. 15||machine learning|
Components and software get funding in January 2020
the biggest acquisition last month was apple’s $200 million of xnor.ai, which has developed machine learning algorithms that can run on edge devices without relying on the cloud. the seattle-based startup’s image-recognition models are intended to enable robots, smart-home devices, and more to use onboard processors. apple also xnor’s participation in project maven, which uses artificial intelligence to analyze military drone data.
also in january 2020, airworks solutions inc. raised $1.4 million for its ai modeling software. u.k.-based robok an unspecified amount for robot control software, and covariant, which is developing ai for warehouse and other robots, .
making robots smarter and more independent was also a trend in hardware investments. lidar maker hesai technology of $173 million, one of the largest in its space.
微信红包接龙二维码nextnav raised $120 million for its indoor navigation system, which does not rely on gps. kneron received $40 million in for its design and development of hardware and software for edge ai.
computer vision firm clobotics $10 million, while percipio xyz (also known as shanghai tuyang information technology co.) an unspecified series a+ for its 3d machine vision offering. material handling systems inc. emotion controls co.
outdoor or field robotics can also benefit from technology improvements. inertial sense investment for its navigation system in january 2020.
微信红包接龙二维码autox technologies, which is developing level 4 autonomous vehicle technology, raised “tens of millions” of dollars in a . it also on robotic taxicab services in china, california, and other locations.
although self-driving vehicle companies received billions of dollars in the past year, the road to full autonomy can be winding. for instance, starsky robotics has had difficulty raising funds and is reportedly .
Agricultural robots and drones have an early spring
Speaking of fields, farming robot and aerial drone companies received a total of about $16 million each in January 2020. Escalquens, France-based Naio Technologies SA raised $15.57 million in Series A funding for its weeding robots, while Plymouth, U.K.-based Fieldwork Robotics Ltd. $393,000 in shares for its raspberry-picking robots.
微信红包接龙二维码while it’s not yet planting season, let alone harvest time in the northern hemisphere, robotics investors are looking ahead at labor shortages. equipment provider kubota corp. abundant robotics inc., which offers harvesting services and is developing an apple-picking robot. japan-based inaho also for its harvesting robot.
微信红包接龙二维码on the drone side, beijing-based airlook $14 million in series b+ funding for its 3d drone mapping systems. draganfly inc. fellow drone inspection firm dronelogics systems inc. for $1.5 million and an initial public offering.
微信红包接龙二维码droneup $750,000 for drone pilot management software, and converge got $750,000 for its ai-driven software drone “service providers and customers automate and integrate drones into their existing workflows.” converge cited a ptc prediction that the commercial drone market will grow to $58.3 billion.
drones are particularly useful for industrial and infrastructure inspections. skyqraft ab $505,000 from antler and others for its power-line inspecting drones. red mountain scientific raised $250,000 for its drones, which use ai and the cloud to inspect wind turbines and cellular towers. voliro ag $51,000 from a swiss incubator for its inspection and monitoring drones.
微信红包接龙二维码india-based skilancer solar an unspecified amount for its solar panel-cleaning robots.
微信红包接龙二维码red dot drone from taiwan sports innovation accelerator for its consumer drone autonomy technology.
Supply chain robots grab more money in January 2020
微信红包接龙二维码supply chain and logistics automation, from order fulfillment through delivery, received $286 million in january 2020. the largest robotics investment last month was berkshire grey’s . the lexington, mass.-based company is developing pick-and-place robots.
drone delivery companies raised an unspecified amount in january 2020, with tdk ventures supporting autoflightx, and mckesson ventures matternet. autoflightx electric air taxis that can also be used for unmanned deliveries, while matternet is initially focusing on medical applications.
Healthcare systems get funding last month
last month, surgical robotics companies received a reported $110 million in funding. zap surgical systems inc., which is developing a radiosurgical robot for non-invasive ablation of brain tumors, received $81 million .
微信红包接龙二维码 of $20 million will help virtual incision corp. submit its mira minimally invasive surgical system to the u.s. food and drug administration for approval.
Microbot Medical sold nearly $9 million in stock in January 2020 for its disposable robotic system, which is designed for multiple procedures. Shenzhen, China-based Surgitec raised for its surgical devices, and Waters Corp. laboratory automation provider Andrew Alliance SA.
Service robotics have ups and downs in January 2020
in january 2020, softbank group participated in the $32 million for robot waiter company bear robotics inc.
SoftBank has been invested in numerous robotics businesses, , but recipients , , and have laid off staffers because of ongoing difficulties with developing successful and humanoid robots.
still, expectations are high for such robots. india-based invento makerspaces for its humanoid service robots in january 2020.
The Misty II robot is both a personal assistant and a development platform, and Misty Robotics . Dimension Robotics, which offers robots for education and rehabilitation, .
Trifo Inc. raised Series B funding of $15 million and launched “Lucy,” a security and vacuum robot. In industrial cleaning, Rovco for its remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) for undersea operation and inspection of wind turbines and oil and gas rigs.
china-based dfrobot $1.42 million for its educational and development robot. js global lifestyle machine vision startup qfeeltech to become an innovation leader in household robots and smart devices. irobot corp., a leader in household robotics, positive financial results for 2019.
Bright spots in industrial automation
as noted above, robotics companies that serve manufacturing have been dealing with weakened demand, particularly in automotive and aerospace verticals. but not all manufacturing robotics news was bad in january 2020.
Collaborative robots are still a growing segment within industrial automation, as Teradyne’s new headquarters for Universal Robots A/S and Mobile Industrial Robots ApS in Denmark demonstrated.
german-chinese partnership yuanda robootics gmbh $22 million in january 2020 for its collaborative robots, and yamaha motor co. waseda university spinoff and cobot maker tokyo robotics inc.
微信红包接龙二维码jenoptik group spain-based interob sl, which designs and builds systems for smart manufacturing.
For more information on recent robotics deals, visit Robotics Business Review‘s .
Editors’ note: What defines robotics investments? The answer to this simple question is central in any attempt to quantify them with some degree of rigor. To make investment analyses consistent, repeatable, and valuable, it is critical to wring out as much subjectivity as possible during the evaluation process. This begins with a definition of terms and a description of assumptions.
Investors and investing
Investment should come from venture capital firms, corporate investment groups, angel investors, and other sources. Friends-and-family investments, government/non-governmental agency grants, and crowd-sourced funding are excluded.
Robotics and intelligent systems companies
微信红包接龙二维码 Robotics companies must generate or expect to generate revenue from the production of robotics products (that sense, analyze, and act in the physical world), hardware or software subsystems and enabling technologies for robots, or services supporting robotics devices. For this analysis, autonomous vehicles (including technologies that support autonomous driving) and drones are considered robots, while 3D printers, CNC systems, and various types of “hard” automation are not.
companies that are “robotic” in name only, or use the term “robot” to describe products and services that that do not enable or support devices acting in the physical world, are excluded. for example, this includes “software robots” and robotic process automation. many firms have multiple locations in different countries. company locations given in the analysis are based on the publicly listed headquarters in legal documents, press releases, etc.
Funding information is collected from a number of public and private sources. These include press releases from corporations and investment groups, corporate briefings, industry analysts such as , and association and industry publications. In addition, information comes from sessions at conferences and seminars, as well as during private interviews with industry representatives, investors, and others. Unverifiable investments are excluded.