Robotics & Automation News

Market trends and business perspectives

Circular Wave Drive raises $2 million in funding

Circular Wave Drive, a technology company that manufactures compact speed-reducing gears for robotics and applications, closed $900,000 in seed funding, capping off the company’s $2 million total seed investment.

Columbus-based Ikove Venture Partners led and organized the round for the startup.

This latest round of funding will be used to further invest in research and development, talent acquisition and international growth, as the company expands its offices to China. 

Dr Robert Lee, Circular Wave Drive co-founder, says: “There is an accelerating demand for robotics in China. With this expansion, we will be able to continue to grow our operations, as well as attract and retain the best talent within our China subsidiary.

“We will maintain a strong presence at our headquarters in Columbus, as all of the technology and research will remain in Central Ohio.”

Circular Wave Drive’s speed reduction technology was developed by Dr Yuanfang Zheng, a Winbiger Endowed Chair professor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at The Ohio State University.

Designed to be less complex and elegant, the technology enables a full product line of low-cost, compact, highly-efficient speed-reducing gearing systems.

Dr Zheng says: “When run on 18-hour shifts, industry-standard speed reducers must be replaced once every two years. This short lifespan results in a loss of productivity, which can prove very costly to a company.

“Our precise design enables us to offer a speed-reducing gear that is lower cost and more durable than strain-wave gears, which currently dominate the market.”

Working directly with Circular Wave Drive to vet their technologies and assess commercialization potential, Ikove Venture Partners provides the funding and go-to-market strategy.

Flavio Lobato, co-founder and principal of Ikove Venture Partners, says: “As the gears represent over 40 per cent of their cost structure, speed reducers are a core technology for industrial robots.

“Circular Wave Drive’s speed reduction technology is a major breakthrough and aims to reduce that cost by one third.”