Robotics Industry News
Robotic Automation Leader Soft Robotics Raises $20M in Oversubscribed Funding Round
Soft Robotics Inc. Posted 05/02/2018
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- Award-winning industrial robotics company Soft Robotics announced today that it has raised $20M in an oversubscribed funding round.
The new investors include Scale Venture Partners, Calibrate Ventures, Honeywell Ventures, Tekfen Ventures, Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd., with Hyperplane Venture Capital leading the round.
Existing investors include Material Impact, ABB Technology Ventures, Taylor Farms Ventures and Haiyin Capital. Joining the Board of Directors will be Rory O'Driscoll from Scale Venture Partners and Kevin Dunlap from Calibrate Ventures.
Soft Robotics unlocks robotic automation for large, meaningful markets and labor starved industries such as food and beverage, advanced manufacturing and e-commerce. Leveraging patented material science and AI algorithms, Soft Robotics designs and builds automation solutions and soft robotic gripping systems that can grasp and manipulate items with the same dexterity of the human hand. Since the company's inception, its technology platform has experienced substantial customer validation and adoption, with over 80% year over year revenue growth and production installations running 24/7 for Fortune 500 companies and Dow 30 components, including Just Born Quality Confections (maker of Peeps).
"We're proud of the team's work to date to scale up the Soft Robotics' technology platform and gain significant commercial traction across our customer verticals, said Soft Robotics CEO Carl Vause. "We've been able to address some of our customers' largest supply chain and automation challenges, from picking and packing fresh produce and raw proteins, to bin picking and retail order fulfillment." ABB, a leader in robotics and industrial automation, sees the investment in Soft Robotics as part of ABB's overall strategy to shape the future of industrial digitalization and the automated warehouse.
"We saw early on that the Soft Robotics solution is a paradigm shift in the way our machines interact with their environment, especially in their ability to grasp deformable, delicate, binned or otherwise complex items," said Grant Allen, Head of Ventures at ABB Group. "As a leader in industrial manipulation with over 300,000 robots deployed, ABB sees a huge number of amplifying automation solutions but the intuitive control software Soft Robotics has created combined with their agile gripper is a linchpin of the automated warehouse. In an era of increasingly high mix, low volume production cycles coupled with the need for pain-free automation configurability, we are also extremely excited about the direction Soft Robotics is taking their core technology with SuperPick, allowing ABB arms to do more with less training, greater accuracy and increasing autonomy."
This funding round comes at a pivotal time in Soft Robotics' growth. Having proven the economic benefit and scalability of the technology, the company is today at a critical moment of accelerating its commercial penetration plans and new product roadmap. "As investors we aim to match innovative technologies with major, unmet market needs," said Rory O'Driscoll, Partner at Scale Venture Partners. "The $40B industrial automation market is large and growing, but largely limited to industries like automotive and semiconductor.
Existing rigid robotic technology just doesn't work for industries such as food and beverage or e-commerce, because of the variability of the product and the unstructured nature of the environment. With so many industries facing mounting pressure to automate, we aren't surprised that there has been such rapid adoption of Soft Robotics' technology."
About Soft Robotics: Soft Robotics designs and builds soft robotic automation systems that can grasp and manipulate items of varying size, shape and weight. Spun out of the Whitesides Group at Harvard University, Soft Robotics is the only company to be commercializing this groundbreaking and proprietary technology platform. Today, the company is a global enterprise solving previously off-limits automation challenges for customers in food & beverage, advanced manufacturing and e-commerce. Soft Robotics' engineers are building an ecosystem of robots, control systems, data and machine learning to enable the workplace of the future.