George Konidaris, founder, CTO and chief roboticist at Realtime Robotics.

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Mobility tech startup Realtime Robotics recently raised fresh funding to help manufacturers, suppliers, and logistics companies improve the efficiency of their robots through motion planning technology that tells them how and when to move.

The firm announced an extension to its Series A in June 2021, adding $19.7 million to the $11.7 million it announced in late 2019, for $31.4 million total raised. The extension boosted its valuation to $80 million, the company said, and included existing investors SPARX Asset Management, Omron Ventures, Toyota AI Ventures, Scrum Ventures, and Duke Angels, and new investors HAHN Automation, SAIC Capital Management, Soundproof Ventures, and Heroic Ventures.

Realtime Robotics plans to use the funding to speed product development and expand the company’s offering to other markets outside the US. 

The promise of robotics and automation have loomed over various industries for years, but the pandemic provided even more of a boost: From March 2020 to March 2021, robotics startups collectively raised $6.3 billion in venture funding, according to PitchBook, an increase of nearly 50% from the year prior.

Realtime Robotics in particular garnered increased interest for its warehouse and logistics use cases. Its specialized processor, which tells robots how to move so companies don’t have to engineer them themselves, can save warehouse operators, for example, time, money, and manpower. 

The increased opportunity led the firm to add to its Series A, which included many of its original investors, including Toyota, which it first hooked during its earliest stages of growth. 

“Our big break for the seed round came because Dr. James Kuffner, who was the CTO of the Toyota Research Institute at the time, is a world-leading motion planning researcher and understood the importance of the problem and of our technical accomplishment,” George Konidaris, founder, CTO and chief roboticist at Realtime Robotics told Insider. “We gave a presentation to him and he got it, instantly.”

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(Kuffner has since become CEO of Woven Planet Holdings, a Toyota subsidiary building a smart city in Japan.)

Toyota AI Ventures’ founding managing director, Jim Adler, said that the firm’s technology was “incredibly compelling” which led to the firm’s participation in this latest round. 

Here’s the pitch deck that Realtime Robotics used to to land its  $19.7 million Series A extension:

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Source:: Business Insider

      

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