Robotics & Automation News

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RIOS raises $28 million to automate ‘old-line industries’ with AI robotic workcells

RIOS Intelligent Machines, a startup developing artificial intelligence-powered robotic workcells for factory automation, has raised $28 million in Series A equity funding and debt financing. 

This new round of funding, together with a $5 million venture round back in 2020, raise RIOS’ total capitalization to $33 million.

The oversubscribed Series A round was led by new deep tech investor Main Sequence, along with new major investors Yamaha Motor Ventures, Orbit Venture Partners, Hypertherm Ventures, and strong participation from existing investors Valley Capital Partners, Morpheus Ventures, Grit Ventures, and others.

Mike Zimmerman, partner at Main Sequence, is joining RIOS’ board of directors, and Anish Patel, Yamaha Motor Ventures COO and managing director, has joined as a board observer.

RIOS helps enterprises automate their factory assembly lines, warehouses or supply chain operations, by deploying its AI-powered robotic workcells on the factory floor.

Its robotic workcells are currently deployed in the United States in the manufacturing, consumer packaged goods, and food and beverage sectors.

RIOS pioneered the robots-as-a-service (RaaS) business model for robotic workcells well before other automation providers, and currently offers its robotic workforce through a factory automation-as-a-service agreement, in which customers have no upfront capital commitments.

The company has signed agreements with over a dozen customers in the US and Japan, from mid-size businesses to large enterprises. The new capital will be used to deploy its robotic fleet at scale to both new and existing customers.

Dr Bernard Casse, RIOS’ CEO, says: “Bedrock sectors of our economy are crippled by a labor shortage problem that Covid turned into a full-blown crisis. Today, most factories in the world are labor-intensive, and with millions of jobs unfilled, manufacturers are unable to keep up with skyrocketing consumer demand – and they are in extreme pain.

“We have the cure to this trillion-dollar opportunity. We’re re-industrializing America with best-in-class American technology, while upskilling our American workforce in the process and enabling them to access higher-level and better-paying jobs.”

RIOS focuses on the last frontier of automation in factories, in which traditional automation breaks down. It has built a new breed of robots possessing unparalleled levels of dexterity, cognitive skills and autonomy, which are geared up to tackle hard-to-automate tasks in unstructured environments.

Today, the company has engineered some of the most sophisticated hardware and software and artificial intelligence platforms in the robotics space, which includes human-like tactile sensors for robots, haptics intelligence platform, and highest performance end-of-arm tooling.

Steve O’Hara, Managing Partner at Valley Capital Partners and a board member of RIOS, says: “We are pleased to see the tremendous growth at RIOS since our initial investment.

“From day one we were impressed with the RIOS team and believed their data-focused and full-stack technology approach would help differentiate them quickly as the demand for automation services grew.

“We are excited to see how quickly their pipeline has grown, far exceeding our expectations from a robotics company at their size and stage and couldn’t be more excited to continue to partner with Bernard and his team to build a world-class technology company.”

RIOS’ value proposition to its customers are production-grade machines that meet throughputs and KPIs, are easy to use, have practically zero downtime, and can be integrated within their existing workflows. RIOS’ solutions offering comes with the fastest delivery on the planet and a premier customer experience.

RIOS’ business proposition and superior technology stack allows manufacturers of all sizes to access world-leading automation with no capital investment, helping them to reliably scale to meet their growing demand.

Mike Zimmerman, lead investor, says: “RIOS’ combination of RaaS business model and adaptable end-to-end robotic workcell platform is the ideal answer to the labor and supply chain challenges facing manufacturers around the globe. Main Sequence was attracted to RIOS’ strong market traction, positive customer feedback and world-class team.

“We’re also thrilled that RIOS is strategically tapping into Australia’s ecosystem of industry experts, research institutions, and commercial companies to both commercialize innovative robotic technologies and get early access to the Australian market.”

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