2014-04-15 14:53:09 - Robert Bosch Venture Capital, Innovacom and SEB Alliance invest in RobArt
Linz, Austria, 15 April 2014. The innovation leader for intelligent robotic navigation, RobArt GmbH, announced today the closing of a financing round A. The successful investment consortium includes Robert Bosch Venture Capital (RBVC), the corporate venture company of the Bosch Group as well as Innovacom and SEB Alliance. RobArt will use the € 3 million investment to expand its current activities and to start volume production for an intelligent low cost navigation unit developed in recent years.
"The confidence of three renowned venture funds in RobArt's technology is a significant milestone for our company", says Michael Schahpar, co-founder and CFO of RobArt. "The investment enables us to recruit additional highly qualified employees and to expand our customer base as well as
to accelerate our market entry." Indeed, the joint investment by experienced venture funds comes well-timed for RobArt, that was founded in 2009. Not only is the company's technology now ready for market launch but the market is also ready for the product. In fact RobArt focuses on the development of navigation systems for autonomous robotic household devices. Its unique navigation unit enables manufacturers of consumer market products to easily generate intelligent robotic devices for applications such as floor cleaning, home security, fetch and carry or elderly care.
"Today's cleaning robots are anything but intelligent", explains Harold Artés, co-founder and CTO of RobArt. "They do not have a concept of their immediate surrounding and thus cannot be instructed to clean autonomously at specific locations. If for example you want them to clean just under the table – they cannot do it. RobArt's navigation unit fixes this shortcoming by giving robots the intelligence to understand their surroundings. With our technology robots will begin to be really useful. They'll be able to learn, offer revolutionary user interaction and they can be very competitively priced."
The advantages of RobArt's technology and the strategic opportunities of the company convinced the investors consortium. Jan Westerhues, investment partner of RBVC and board-member of RobArt, explains: "We are impressed by the technological achievements of RobArt and the capabilities of its team. We are convinced that this technology will significantly drive the use of robotics for consumer applications. Furthermore, RobArt's navigation unit offers unique possibilities for users and developers of smart connected home products and is thus an important advance for the Internet of Things."
Bruno Dizengremel, partner of Innovacom and also a new member of RobArt's board, adds: "RobArt's exceptional team of engineers has developed a very advanced technology for robot navigation in consumer products. The market potential for this technology is huge and RobArt will become the key enabler for intelligence in devices for cleaning, security as well as fetch and carry. We are keen to take part in their expansion."
About Robert Bosch Venture Capital GmbH (RBVC):
RBVC is the corporate venture company of the Bosch Group, a leading global supplier of technology and services RBVC invests worldwide in innovative start-up companies at all stages of their development. Its investment activities focus on technology companies working in areas of business of current and future relevance for Bosch above all automation and control, energy and environment, enabling technologies, and healthcare. RBVC also invests in services and business models as well as new materials that are relevant to the above-mentioned areas of business. www.rbvc.com
Innovacom has invested more than one billion Euros in hundreds of digital start-up companies since its creation in 1988. Investments include Business Objects, ByteMobile, Digitick, Gemplus, Infovista, Intershop, Inventel, Kelkoo, LastMinute.com, Netcentrex, Netezza, Soitec, Steek, Streamezzo and Tumbleweed. Through its seed fund and capital development funds, Innovacom is an investor in the initial phases of company development. Innovacom invested in RobArt through its seed fund Technocom 2, financed by BpiFrance, Alcatel-Lucent, Orange, Groupe Seb and Soitec as strategic partners of the fund.
About SEB Alliance:
SEB Alliance is the corporate venture company of Groupe SEB, the world leader in small domestic equipment, Groupe SEB operates in nearly 150 countries with a unique portfolio of top brands including Tefal, Rowenta, Moulinex, Krups, Lagostina, All-Clad, and Supor, marketed through multi-format retailing. Selling some 200 million products a year, it deploys a long-term strategy focused on innovation, international development, competitiveness and customer service. Groupe SEB has more than 25,000 employees worldwide. Groupe SEB has created SEB Alliance to prepare for coming changes in the small domestic equipment market and to extend its innovation strategy to new technologies and expertise. With an initial capital of € 30 million, the fund will prioritize minority stake investments in innovative companies with high technological content or new business models operating in areas such as: smart systems/connectivity & robotics, new forms of energy, ageing population, preserving capital health, beauty and well-being, ecology and sustainable development. www.seballiance.com
Michael Schahpar (CEO)