March 21, 2019 by Manufacturing AUTOMATION
March 21, 2019 – Avidbots, a Kitchener, Ontario–based robotics company, has raised $23.6 million in a new round of funding, which it says will be used to expand its staff.
The Series B funding was led by returning investor True Ventures. Other returning investors include GGV Capital, SOSV, Real Ventures, and 500 Startups Canada. New investors include Next47, BDC Capital, and KCPL. Next47, a global venture capital firm backed by Siemens, was the largest investor in the round.
Avidbots designs and builds autonomous connected robots. Its first product is Neo, a robotic floor scrubber for industrial and commercial locations including warehouses, manufacturing sites, malls and airports. Manufactured in Avidbots’ 40,000-square foot facility in Kitchener, Ontario, Neo is in use today in over a dozen countries, cleaning floors in locations such as Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport, Toronto’s Eaton Centre mall, and Rochester Institute of Technology. To date, Neo has cleaned over half a billion square feet of floor space.
The company says that most floor-cleaning machines are existing manual models retrofitted with hardware and software that allows them to travel a few pre-programmed routes, whereas Neo is the first purpose-built commercial robotic floor scrubber that uses AI to optimize performance.
Neo does not just follow a set path, but instead continually learns from its environment to change its route on the fly—avoiding obstacles and adapting to new floor layouts. Neo has a vertically-integrated technology stack that incorporates proprietary software and a unique hardware design, as well as advanced 3D sensors and cameras. Connected to the cloud through WiFi and 4G, Neo includes 24/7 monitoring and automatically receives regular software updates to continuously gain new functionality.
“With this new funding, we will accelerate investment in talent acquisition, engineering, marketing, and sales to bring our cutting-edge robots to more customers worldwide,” says Faizan Sheikh, CEO and co-founder of Avidbots.
Ground staff control Neo through an easy-to-use touch screen, while facilities managers can log into an intuitive web app called Command Center to access real-time and historical reporting and video streams to obtain visibility into cleaning operations and outcomes.
“We invest in industrial automation and robotics companies that have thought deeply about which types of work are best suited for machines,” says Rohit Sharma, partner at True Ventures. “Repetitive, tedious work like commercial floor cleaning is an effective area of initial focus and we’re thrilled to support Faizan and his team as they pioneer this space.”
Avidbots was founded in 2014 by graduates from the University of Waterloo. To date, Avidbots has raised $36 million in venture capital financing.