Top Startups In Robotics For Manufacturing

Top Startups in Robotics for Manufacturing

The field of robotics is having a profound yet understated effect on the manufacturing sector. Although mostly incremental, innovations in the field have the ability to transform the trillion dollar manufacturing industry.

A study by Loup Ventures predicts that the industrial robotics market could grow by as much as 175 percent over the next decade. The same report also predicts that by 2025, up to 34 percent of all industrial robots sold will be collaborative robots.

These statistics point to a massive shift in how manufacturing will be conducted in the future. Playing a key role in this transformation will be robotics for manufacturing startups, some with incremental innovations like Soft Robotics and fetch Robotics, and others with truly groundbreaking innovations, like Markforged and Grabit.

In this list, we cover the top startups in robotics for manufacturing and highlight key identifiers such as capital raised, founders and year of founding.

Soft Robotics

Founders: Carmichael Roberts, George Whitesides

Equity Raised: $25 million

Estimated 2018 Revenue: $3.4 million

Lead Investors: Scale Venture Partners, Hyperplane Venture Capital, Material Impact Fund

Year Founded: 2015

Headquarters: Boston, Massachusetts, United States

Soft Robotics is solving end-of-arm tooling in industrial robots through smart material soft-touch grippers. As most robots lack the fine, dexterous touch and grip humans have, humans complete tasks involving delicate or irregularly-shaped items. Soft Robotics uses advanced materials in its soft-touch gripper that enable it to grip anything from fresh fruit to candy bars, with the same dexterity and finesse as a human.

Why It’ll Succeed

Soft Robotics is tackling a major area in industrial robotics – soft-touch picking and placing. Currently done almost exclusively by humans, solving this challenge could help manufacturers not only augment their human workers but significantly increase production throughput. Backing from global robotics giant ABB makes Soft Robotics an even more promising bet.

Arevo Labs

Founders: Hemant Bheda, Riley Reese, Shekar Mantha, Wiener Mondesir

Equity Raised: $19.5 million

Estimated 2018 Revenue: $6 million

Lead Investors: Khosla Ventures, In-Q-Tel, Asahi Glass Co.

Year Founded: 2013

Headquarters: Santa Clara, California, United States

Arevo Labs is combining advanced composite materials, intelligent lifecycle management software, and true free-motion 3D printing to create ultra-strong polymer parts that cannot be made using conventional manufacturing techniques. The manufacturing robotics startup is exploring a new take on industrial part manufacturing with an intention to disrupt the traditional design-for-manufacturing (DFM) process, replacing it with a manufacturing-for-design (MFD) approach.

Why It’ll Succeed

Arevo Labs is not only making forays into 3D high-strength parts manufacturing but is also experimenting with entire-product 3D printing manufacturing using its unique blend of software, robotics, and 3D printing technologies. The company’s focus on high-ticket industries like aerospace, defense, transportation, automotive, consumer electronics and oil and gas give it strong growth prospects going forward.

Markforged

Founder: Gregory Mark

Equity Raised: $136.8 million

Estimated 2018 Revenue: $70 million

Lead Investors: Summit Partners, Next47

Year Founded: 2013

Headquarters: Watertown, Massachusetts, United States

Markforgedis using a proprietary 3D printing technique that utilizes advanced materials such as nylon, reinforced continuous fiber, chopped carbon fiber, and metal to create end-use composite material parts. The startup is applying this unique approach to upend traditional 3D printing and numerous traditional manufacturing techniques, in the process delivering substantial cost, efficiency, and time savings. Markforged, currently in late-stage venture funding, has grown 12,687 percent from 2015 to 2018.

Why It’ll Succeed

Sentiments on Markforged are bullish with the startup making it to the Forbes 2018 Next Billion Dollar Startups List and receiving funding from Summit Partners, a VC firm with $19 billion under management. Markforged has strong growth potential as it currently dominates the desktop metal and carbon 3D printer market, a market that’s poised to explode as mainstream commercialized 3D printing takes off.  

Ready Robotics

Founders: Benjamin Gibbs, Kel Guerin

Equity Raised: $18.8 million

Estimated 2018 Revenue: $3 million

Lead Investor: Drive Capital

Year Founded: 2016

Headquarters: Columbus, Ohio, United States

Ready Robotics is making it easy for manufacturers to deploy robots through an all-in-one programmable robot terminal. The startup’s flagship product, the Forge Station, allows any manufacturer to program the robot terminal to complete a wide array of tasks without writing a single line of code. Ready Robotics is also pioneering robots-as-a-service, a service that can configure and deploy robots to customer facilities in thirty days or less.

Why It’ll Succeed

As large manufacturers add custom-built robots to their facilities, Ready Robotics’ robots-as-a-service approach will help smaller low-volume, high-mix production facilities also add robots to their workforce. A major factor that will drive Ready Robotics’ business is its recent move to the Midwest, an area with 60% of all the factories in the United States.

UiPath

Founders: Daniel Dines, Marius Tirca

Equity Raised: $1 billion

Estimated 2018 Revenue: $25 million

Lead Investors: Accel, Sequoia Capital, Earlybird Venture Capital, Coatue Management,

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Year Founded: 2005

Headquarters: New York, New York, United States

UiPath is the Adobe for industrial process design. Building robotic process automation software, the company is using a platform approach to process design and execution. The company’s core platform, UiPath Studio, offers visual automation modeling while its complementary services, UiPath Orchestrator and UiPath Robot, provide last-mile process execution. Some of the industries the robotics automation company serves include manufacturing, finance, banking, healthcare, and telecom. UiPath, currently in late-stage venture funding.

Why It’ll Succeed

Currently valued at a staggering $7 billion with $1 billion in funding raised to date, UiPath is the definition of a unicorn. But, what makes UiPath all the more interesting is that it wants to become the Microsoft for robotics. That is, the same way Microsoft monopolizes the desktop computer industry, UiPath is on course to monopolize the global robotic processes industry.

Seegrid

Founders: Hans Moravec, Scott Friedman

Equity Raised: $59.5 million

Estimated 2018 Revenue: $8.6 million

Lead Investor: Giant Eagle

Year Founded: 2003

Headquarters: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States

Seegrid is helping manufacturers run faster and more efficient production lines through autonomous infrastructure-free material-handling vehicles combined with a cloud fleet management system. With customers like Boeing, DHL, Whirlpool, and Zulily, Seegrid is reimagining autonomous vehicles for the factory floor. Seegrid’s robots offer agility through easily trainable in-house route management, meaning the robots are easily redeployed to any section of the factory floor. For factories that need more control, Seegrid’s robots offer a dual mode feature that toggles between manual and driverless modes.

Why It’ll Succeed

Seegrid is cornering a market that is currently in its infancy – autonomous material handling robots. With major global companies like Caterpillar, Good Year, GM, Amazon, and BMW as customers, Seegrid has a strong potential of becoming a key player within the global manufacturing supply chain, something that could see it book major revenue growth.

Grabit

Founders: Charlie Duncheon, Daria Shualy, Harsha Prahlad

Equity Raised: $21 million

Estimated 2018 Revenue: $5 million

Lead Investor: Formation 8

Year Founded: 2013

Headquarters: Sunnyvale, California, United States

Grabit is using a revolutionary electroadhesion innovation to revolutionize grasping tasks in robotics, industrial automation, and material handling. Using the same energy that causes hair to stick to a statically charged balloon, the startup is reinventing how goods are handled on linear and gravity-fed conveyor belts. By introducing better goods handling, Grabit delivers load efficiency, higher operation density, and increased speed. Grabit, founded in 2013, is based in Sunnyvale, California and has raised $21 million to date.

Why It’ll Succeed

Electroadhesion may not be a well-known term but Nike, a major partner of Grabit, knows it could be a game-changing technology, especially in the apparel industry. Grabit’s growth potential stems from the fact that its technology offers soft material handling capabilities that were previously impossible, at scale, within a manufacturing setting.

Veo Robotics

Founders: Clara Vu, Patrick Sobalvarro

Equity Raised: $28 million

Estimated 2018 Revenue: $2.5 million

Lead Investors: GV, Lux Capital

Year Founded: 2016

Headquarters: Waltham, Massachusetts, United States

Veo Robotics is building intelligent collaborative robots or cobots, using advanced computer vision, 3D sensing, and artificial intelligence. The startup is bringing perception and intelligence to high-performance industrial robots through an innovative approach that bridges the gap between machine-only and human-only manufacturing processes. By creating highly collaborative human-robotic workcells, Veo Robotics hopes to bring more flexibility, productivity, and efficiency to the factory work floor.

Why It’ll Succeed

Cobots are a promising field, especially in manufacturing settings such as automotive manufacturing where factories mostly separate human production floors from robot production floors. Veo Robotics is promising to smash this divide and bring together humans and robots, a development that could unlock more productivity for manufacturers.

Brain Corp

Founders: Allen Gruber, Eugene Izhikevich

Equity Raised: $125 million

Estimated 2018 Revenue: $3.5 million

Lead Investor: SoftBank Vision Fund

Year Founded: 2009

Headquarters: San Diego, California, United States

Brain Corp is solving the challenge caused by fragmented robotics systems by creating a unified industry-agnostic robotics operating system. The company supports autonomous machine builders through its platform so they can build and deploy faster. Focusing on AI, Brain Corp. is powering intelligent machines, including industrial manufacturing robots, from the development phase through to the deployment and management phases.

Why It’ll Succeed

Brain Corp wants its Brain OS to be the OS of record for all autonomous robots. Think Android for autonomous robots. Working with robot manufacturers, Brain Corp’s success lies in its ability to tackle the difficult challenge of creating and deploying a standardized autonomous robot operating systems. In the near future, expect to visit Brain Corp Bot Store replete with autonomous robots for any job you can conceive.

Fetch Robotics

Founder: Steve Hogan

Equity Raised: $48 million

Estimated 2018 Revenue: $13.4 million

Lead Investors: Shasta Ventures, SoftBank, Oreilly AlphaTech Ventures, Sway Ventures

Year Founded: 2014

Headquarters: San Jose, California, United States

Fetch Robotics is combining collaborative and intelligent Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMR) with a cloud-based platform to offer on-demand automation. Circumventing the bottlenecks involved in introducing automation to factory and warehouse floors, Fetch Robotics can deploy AMR solutions for material handling and data collection purposes within hours. Founded in 2014 and based in San Jose, California, the manufacturing and logistics robotics startup has to date raised $48 million in venture capital.

Why It’ll Succeed

Fetch Robotics’ winning formula lies in the inherent demand for its type of robots especially as e-commerce-driven just-in-time manufacturing explodes. With faster delivery times and less logistical flexibility, major manufacturers working with e-commerce companies will look to the likes of Fetch Robotics to fill in the supply chain efficiency gap.

Machine-Human Collaboration Is The Future of Manufacturing

The field of robotics is one of great interest both to businesses and anthropologists as it discusses the intersection between the human and robotic timeline. For manufacturers, robotics seems to hold the key to human-less factories, which could explode profits.

For anthropologists, robotics seems to point to a future where humans lose economic relevance. However, an Accenture survey of 1,500 companies found that firms achieve the most significant performance improvements when humans and machines work together.

What does this mean for future innovations in robotics for manufacturing? It means that startups pursuing innovations in this area must focus on innovations that help humans and robots leverage and accentuate each others strengths – leadership, teamwork, creativity, and social skills of the former, and the speed, scalability, and quantitative capabilities of the latter.

Digital Transformation Insights: Manufacturing

The manufacturing sector is undergoing large-scale change know broadly as Industry 4.0. This digital transformation of manufacturing is driven by greater use of emerging technologies such as big data, robotics, and the industrial internet of things. Find out how these trends are impacting the industry and learn what strategies established manufacturing companies can use to stay ahead of disruption. Click the button below to read on. 

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