December 2021 robotics investments and acquisitions

The Robot Report

December 2021 robotics funding

The Robot Report tracked 58 robotics investments in December 2021 that totaled at least $1.2 billion. There were five mergers and acquisitions that included two via special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs).

The largest round of the month went to Maryland-based Robotic Research, which raised $228 million in Series A funding. Robotic Research spent the better part of two decades developing autonomous driving technology for the U.S. Department of Defense. With the Series A funding, the first outside capital the company raised, Robotic Research launched a commercial division called RR.AI. This new endeavor is developing autonomous driving technology for commercial truck, bus and logistics vehicles.

The second-largest round also went to an autonomous driving company. China’s Haomo raised $157 million in Series A funding from GL Ventures, Meituan, Qualcomm Ventures and others. Formerly the intelligent driving department of Great Wall Motor, Haomo is developing L4 autonomous driving technology to deliver groceries and other goods.

Chinese companies raised the most funding rounds at 19, which totaled at least $461.4 million. This is a much higher number than we’ve typically seen. Are the increased investments related to China’s new five-year plan to become a global robotics powerhouse? It’s too early to tell, but we’ll be keeping a closer eye on China’s robotics investments going forward. U.S.-based companies accounted for 17 investments for a total of at least $521.8 million.

Companies working on autonomous driving applications led the way in overall funding and number of funding rounds. The 13 investments totaled at least $575.6 million. While surgical robotics companies only accounted for 2 of the funding rounds, they totaled the second-highest amount at $117 million.

Here is a breakdown of the funding rounds for December 2021, in order of most to least: Series A (15), Seed (11), Other (10), Series B (9), Unknown (9), Series C (2), Series D (1) and Pre-Seed (1).

The table below lists robotics company fundings in millions of U.S. dollars, where amounts were publicly available. If more of the funding amounts become available, we will update the chart.

Robotics investments December 2021

Company Round Amount ($M) Tech Country
Drone Express Seed Aerial drones Africa
Haomo Series A 157 Autonomous driving China
RainMed Medical Series D 100 Surgical robots China
Youibot Series B 47 Mobile robots China
Qiangua Technology Series A 31 Autonomous driving China
ForwardX Robotics Series C 31 Mobile robots China
Trunk.Tech Unknown 30 Autonomous driving China
i-KINGTEC Series B 15.7 Aerial drones China
Zhuishi Technology Series A 15.7 Autonomous driving China
Yiwei Semiconductor Unknown 15.7 Motion control China
Xiaodou Intelligent Technology Angel 9 Maritime systems China
White Rhino Seed 7.8 Autonomous driving China
Zhi'an New Energy Angel 1.5 Battery power China
Jingwu Smart Series A Cleaning robots China
Microchain Vision Series A 3D vision China
Passion Intelligence Series A Logistics robots China
Robosense Unknown LiDAR China
Aimooe Seed Positioning China
Wangyuan Environmental Protection & Technology Series A Cleaning robots China
WeRide Corporate Round Autonomous driving China
Robocath Debt Financing 17 Surgical robots France
Vay Series B 95 Autonomous driving Germany
Blickfeld Series A 31 LiDAR Germany
Wingcopter Unknown Aerial drones Germany
Ducktrain Seed Autonomous driving Germany
GreyOrange Debt Financing 13 Logistics robots India
Unbox Robotics Series A 7 Logistics robots India
DTown Robotics Seed 0.5 Service robots India
Flo Mobility Seed 0.4 Autonomous driving India
Anra Technologies Unknown Aerial Drones India
Rightbot Convertible Note Logistics robots India
Pace Robotics Seed Construction robots India
Powermat Technologies Series B 25 Wireless charging Israel
Brodmann17 Series A 10 Autonomous driving Israel
Kitchen Robotics Funding Round Food robotics Israel
ALBA Robot Debt Financing 0.7 Autonomous driving Italy
Aivero Seed 1.8 3D vision Norway
EMYS Series A Educational robots Poland
Photoneo Series B 21 3D vision Slovakia
Klepsydra Seed 1 Software Switzerland
Rovenso Convertible Note Security robots Switzerland
Robotic Research Series A 228 Autonomous driving U.S.
Apex.AI Series B 56 Software U.S.
Dedrone Series C 30.5 Anti-drone software U.S.
Elementary Robotics Series B 30 Inspection U.S.
Petra Series A 30 Construction robots U.S.
SkySafe Series B 30 Aerial drones U.S.
Kneron Series B 25 Computing U.S.
Hyphen Unknown 21.7 Food robots U.S.
Electric Sheep Robotics Series A 20.5 Autonomous lawnmowers U.S.
Voyant Photonics Series A 15.4 LiDAR U.S.
Serve Robotics Seed 13 Delivery robots U.S.
Teleo Unknown 7.8 Construction robots U.S.
SparkAI Unknown 6.7 Software U.S.
Treeswift Unknown 6 Environmental robots U.S.
Ottonomy Pre-Seed 1.2 Delivery robots U.S.
Faction Seed Autonomous driving U.S.
Botrista Technology Funding Round Food robots U.S.

Robotics mergers & acquisitions

The Robot Report tracked 5 mergers and acquisitions in December 2021. Most of the deals didn’t publicly disclose financial details, but Symbotic’s merger with SVF Investment Corp. 3, a SPAC sponsored by an affiliate of SoftBank Investment Advisers, led the way. The deal values Wilmington, Mass.-based Symbotic at a pro forma enterprise value of $4.8 billion, representing 4.8x Symbotic’s forecast 2023 calendar year end estimated revenues. Symbotic said it expects to generate $433 million in revenue in 2022, which would be more than a 73% increase year over year.

Founded in 2005, Symbotic’s robotics systems is used by some of the world’s biggest retailers and wholesalers, including Walmart, Albertsons and C&S Wholesale Grocers. Its fleet of robots can receive, store and retrieve products in distribution centers. At the core of the system is a fleet of several hundred autonomous mobile robots called “Symbots.”

Acquirer Acquired Company Amount ($M) Tech Story
DePuy Synthes OrthoSpin Healthcare robots Story
Delhivery Transition Robotics Aerial drones Story
SVF Investment Corp Symbotic (SPAC) Logistics robots Story
Ryder Whiplash 480 Logistics robots Story
CleanTech Acquisition Corp. Nauticus Robotics (SPAC) Maritime robots Story

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
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 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.

Verification
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, and association and industry publications, including Crunchbase PitchBook and Tracxn. 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.

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Source: therobotreport

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