SoftBank, Alibaba and Foxconn cooperate to spread global adoption of robotics
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 plans to use the net proceeds of the offering for working capital and general corporate purposes.
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.
The customer is Techmetics Solutions, an automation solutions provider to the hospitality, food and beverage industry in Southeast Asia.
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.
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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