Though the majority of robotics deals went to US-based startups in the last five years, the share of deals going to robotics startups outside the United States has been on the rise. Starting at 29% of deals in 2012, deals to non-US startups fluctuated before reaching a 5-year high of 45% in 2016.
We used the CB Insights database to identify deals to startups outside the US between 2015-2016.
Note: Our robotics category excludes driverless car startups and companies focused exclusively on software and robotic/drone operating systems. We exclude debt financings from our data. This map is not meant to be exhaustive of companies in this space.
Here are some of the investment highlights:
- China: Around 8% of global deal share to robotics startups went to China-based startups in 2015. Intel Capital backed two startups that year: personal transportation robot Ninebot and drones startup Yuneec; Accel Partners backed drone startup DJI Innovations in a $75M Series B round; and Sequoia Capital China backed industrial robotics startup Quotient Kinematics in a $5M Series A round. Deal share fell to 6% in 2016, but China saw 2 $100M mega-rounds last year raised by unicorn company UBTECH and consumer robot ROOBO.
- France: From less than 1% in 2015, deal share to France-based companies rose to 7% in 2016. The top round was a $14.15M round raised by industrial drone startup Delair-Tech, backed by France-based investment firm Andromede.
- India: Startups in India received 4% of the deals in 2016. Accel Partners India backed Bengaluru-based industrial robotics startup Systemantics in Q1’16.
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- UK: UK-based startups also accounted for 4% of global deal share in 2016. To name a few, Cambridge Medical Robotics raised $20M in Series A from investors including ABB Technology and Escala Capital; social robot Olly raised $10M in Series A from Lightning Capital and Alliance Capital Ventures; and educational robot-building startup tio was seed-funded by the Kickstarter Accelerator.
- Smart Money VCs: CRV backed Israel-based automated drone startup Airobotics in a $28.5M combined Series A and B round in Q2’16. Battery Ventures backed another Israel-based autonomous drone startup, Dronomy. Accel Partners and Sequoia Capital China backed previously mentioned drone company DJI Innovations. First Round Capital backed Canada-based Kindred Systems in a $15M seed round, along with investors like Google Ventures, Data Collective, and Bloomberg Beta.
- Top funded rounds: The top 5 rounds since January 2015 (excluding US deals) were raised by China-based startups. Humanoid robotics startup UBTECH raised a $100M Series B round and joined the unicorn club in Q3’16. Companion robot ROOBO raised $100M in Series A from iFLYTEK. Previously mentioned transportation robot company Ninebot raised $80M from investors including Xiaomi and Sequoia Capital China. DJI Innovations raised $75M in Series B, and Intel Capital invested $60M in drone startup Yuneec.
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