The Robot Report tracked 36 robotics investments that were worth at least $581 million in May 2021. There also were three mergers and acquisitions in May 2021.
The total amount is a significant drop from April 2021, in which 38 robotics investments totaled more than $4.8 billion. Most of April’s funding total came from two investments: Softbank invested $2.8 billion in AutoStore, a developer of AS/RS systems, and Cruise raised $750 million for its work on autonomous vehicles, adding Walmart to its already impressive list of investors.
May 2021 lacked those large investment rounds. The largest round in May was a $110 million Series B raised by Sweden-based Einride, which is developing autonomous vehicles. The second-largest round was $78 million for delivery robotics maker PuduTech, while Path Robotics raised a $56 Series B for its robotics welding systems and Oculii raised $55 million for its high-resolution radar solution.
Here is a breakdown of the funding types for May 2021, in order of most to least: Series A (11), Seed (10), Series C (4), Pre-Seed (4), Series B (3), Venture (3) and Corporate (1).
U.S.-based companies accounted for 17 funding rounds in May 2021, while China had the second-most at 7. 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 May 2021
|Airspace Link||Series A||10||U.S.||Commercial drones|
|Ant Robotics||Pre-Seed||U.S.||Agricultural robots|
|Beep||Series A||20||U.S.||Autonomous driving|
|Chef Robotics||Seed||7.7||U.S.||Food robotics|
|Cron AI||Series A||4||U.K.||Perception|
|Edge Case Research||Series A||U.S.||Engineering services|
|Einride||Series B||110||Sweden||Autonomous vehicles|
|Flow Robotics||Venture||2.4||Denmark||Lab automation|
|Halodi Robotics||Series A||10.1||Norway||Humanoids|
|Harmonic Bionics||Series A||U.S.||Exoskeletons|
|Hong Jing Drive||Series A||China||Autonomous vehicles|
|In-Pipe Robot||Seed||U.S.||Inspection robots|
|Mech-Mind||Series C||China||Industrial robotics|
|MegaRobo||Corporate Round||65||China||Industrial robotics|
|MOVIA Robotics||Seed||5||U.S.||Educational robots|
|Muddy Machines||Pre-Seed||U.K.||Agricultural robots|
|Path Robotics||Series B||56||U.S.||Robotic welding|
|Picnic||Series A||16.3||U.S.||Food robotics|
|PuduTech||Series C||78||China||Delivery robots|
|Reshape Biotech||Seed||0.9||Denmark||Lab automation|
|SiLC Technologies||Series A||17||U.S.||Sensing|
|TerraClear||Series A||25||U.S.||Agricultural robots|
|Upstream Security||Series C||36||Israel||Cybersecurity for autonomous vehicles|
|Veniibot||Series A||6.3||China||Cleaning robots|
|WeRide||Series C||China||Autonomous vehicles|
Robotics mergers & acquisitions
There were three mergers and acquisitions in May 2021, compared to eight in April 2021. Two of these acquisitions took place via special purpose acquisition companies or SPACs. Bright Machines will go public through a merger agreement with SCVX. Bright Machines develops robotics-based work-cells for manufacturing.
Calif.-based Plus, a startup developing self-driving truck technology, is being acquired by Hennessy Capital Investment Corp. V, a publicly-traded SPAC. If the deal is approved, the combined company will be valued at $3.3 billion and trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “PLAV.”
SPACs have become a hot investment mechanism in robotics, as well as many other industries. Berkshire Grey, Sarcos Robotics, Vicarious Surgical, and a slew of LiDAR companies, have or will also be going public via SPACs.
|Acquired Company||Acquirer||Amount ($M)||Technology||Story|
|Bright Machines||SCVX (SPAC)||Industrial robots||Story|
|American Robotics||Ondas Holdings||70.6||Commercial drones||Story|
|Plus||Hennessy Capital Investment Corp. V (SPAC)||Autonomous trucks||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 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, 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.