Robotics investments recap – May 2021

The Robot Report
robotics investments

Swedish startup Einride develops autonomous trucks for freight transport. | Credit: Einride

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

Company Type Amount ($M) Country Tech
Airspace Link Series A 10 U.S. Commercial drones
Ant Robotics Pre-Seed U.S. Agricultural robots
BaseTracK Seed 1 Estonia Autonomous driving
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
Derq Seed 0.5 Dubai AI
DroneSec Pre-Seed 0.038 Australia Commercial drones
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
IUDRO Grant U.K. Drone racing
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
Neatleaf Seed U.S. Agricultural robots
Oculii Series B 55 U.S. Perception
Path Robotics Series B 56 U.S. Robotic welding
Picnic Series A 16.3 U.S. Food robotics
Precision.ai Seed 20 Canada Agricultural robots
Propulsioneers Pre-Seed U.S. Motion control
PuduTech Series C 78 China Delivery robots
Reshape Biotech Seed 0.9 Denmark Lab automation
Scantinel Photonics Seed 9.1 Germany LiDAR
SiLC Technologies Series A 17 U.S. Sensing
SuitX Venture 6 U.S. Exoskeletons
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
ViaBot Seed 4 U.S. Mobile robots
WeRide Series C China Autonomous vehicles
Youibot Venture 15.4 China Mobile robots

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.

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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