Drone Startups Grab Record Cash

By Thomas Black for Bloomberg Business:  Startup drone makers are finding record amounts of funding as venture capitalists prowl for early winners in what may become an $82 billion industry. From Silicon Valley to New York, firms including Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Lightspeed Venture Partners and ff Venture Capital are lining up behind unmanned aerial vehicle companies. Google Inc., General Electric Co. and Qualcomm Inc. also are jumping in with cash. “Everybody wants to invest in drones because they’re seeing not only the potential but actual results right now,” said Jon Ollwerther, vice president of marketing and operations at drone builder AeroCine, which operates from a waterfront Brooklyn warehouse with a view of the Statue of Liberty. “We have said no to money.” There’s more than ever to go around. Investors have pumped $210 million into businesses like SZ DJI Technology Co. and DroneDeploy so far in 2015, almost double the total for all of last year, according to data compiler CrunchBase. The pace has quickened as U.S. regulators grant more exemptions for limited commercial operations, reassuring financial backers that they’ll see a payoff from their support.   Cont'd...

SoftBank Leads $20 Million Investment in Fetch Robotics

Pioneer in Robotics for Logistics and Material Handling in High Demand From Warehouse and Fulfillment Centers

Agreement Reached for Alibaba and Foxconn to Invest in SoftBank's Robotics Business

SoftBank, Alibaba and Foxconn cooperate to spread global adoption of robotics

Japan's Robot Revolution Is Attracting Venture Capitalists

by Shigeru Sato and Monami Yui for Bloomberg Business:    Venture capitalists who have long avoided investing in Japan may think again as startups in the country develop a new generation of robot technology, according to consultant Koichi Hori. While Japan has little chance of catching up to the U.S. in digital media, the next phase of technological innovation will be in robotics with artificial intelligence, said Hori, who headed Boston Consulting Group Inc.’s Japan office before founding Dream Incubator Inc. in 2000. That plays to Japan’s strengths in engineering, he said.  “Digital media will only be in the mainstream for about three years, or five years at most,” Hori, 70, said in an interview in Tokyo on May 27. “From that time on, robots and robotics will be the eye-catchy industries. Japan has a good chance, particularly in the area of hardware for robots.” Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is pushing for a “robot revolution” to help reclaim the dominance of Japanese technology after companies such as Sony Corp. lost ground to Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co. With venture investment less than 3 percent that of the U.S., Japan has struggled to replicate Silicon Valley’s success as a hub of innovation.   Cont'd...

Adept Technology Announces $8 Million Registered Direct Offering

Adept plans to use the net proceeds of the offering for working capital and general corporate purposes.

April Equity Deals, Acquisitions and Chinese Funds

Money is flowing to robotics-related startup companies. Q1 saw 19 equity deals totaling $317 million, and 3 acquisitions of undetermined amounts, but money also flowed in April.

Adept Technology Receives 1 Million Dollar Order for Lynx Mobile Robots

The customer is Techmetics Solutions, an automation solutions provider to the hospitality, food and beverage industry in Southeast Asia.

Rethink Robotics Completes $40M Series D Financing

The funds will fuel Rethink Robotics' rapid growth and global expansion, and drive product innovations that will continue to raise the bar for collaborative robots in manufacturing.

Clearpath Robotics Raises $14 Million to Accelerate Vision for Ethical Industrial Robotics

Funding from U.S. venture firm RRE Ventures will help Clearpath build service robots to automate dull, dirty and deadly industrial work.

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