Lightspeed Invests in RobCo's Growth Journey towards SME Robotics Automation Leadership

RobCo, a specialist in modular, cost-effective, and interconnected robotics automation solutions for SMEs, recently welcomed global venture capital firm Lightspeed Venture Partners as a new investor in its Series B funding round.

The firm secured £42.5 million from Lightspeed and other contributors to propel its development and expansion. Sequoia Capital, a former investor in Apple and Nvidia, along with Kindred Capital and Promus Ventures, also took part in this round. This investment increases RobCo's total funding to over £60 million. The company plans to use the majority of this new capital to enhance its distribution networks and further its product development efforts.

Established in 2020 by a trio of researchers from the Technical University of Munich's Robotics and Artificial Intelligence Chair, RobCo focuses on creating versatile robotic hardware kits for a variety of SME manufacturing processes, including machine loading and unloading, and palletising. These kits offer a modular and intuitive system for assembling and adapting robotics applications, facilitated by RobCo's unique, vertically integrated hardware and software platform, RobCo Studio. This platform allows for the robots to be configured, deployed, and managed remotely through a digital twin, leveraging a low-code approach that removes the need for intricate programming or specialised staff. Moreover, the platform features a modular end-to-end system with all the necessary future-proof interfaces, enhanced by an innovative sensor and software layer to extend the hardware's lifespan.

RobCo's offerings are particularly tailored for SMEs, aiming to make machine utilisation cost-effective by enabling rapid and flexible reprogramming for varied tasks. The company supports businesses in embracing automation and moving towards Industry 4.0.

"Through a comprehensive RobCo automation solution in the palletising area, we can actively address the ongoing shortage of skilled workers with technology and at the same time save costs", explains Martin Matern, plant manager at DE-VAU-GE Gesundkostwerk Deutschland GmbH in Lüneburg.

“The ongoing development of our modular robotic platform for industrial use is crucial for addressing the current and future challenges in economy and society. Today, our robots can already be set up, programmed, and managed with software and AI assistance. The next step is to make industrial robots even more autonomous and intelligent in their operational environment”, says Roman Hölzl, CEO and Co-founder of RobCo. “With our RobCo Autonomy approach, we focus on a deeper implementation of AI in our software so that robots can autonomously sense, reason, and act in their environment, planning and executing actions independently in the near future.”

“The use of robotics in the industrial setting was previously reserved almost exclusively for large corporations with the corresponding financial and human resources”, emphasises Alex Schmitt, Partner at Lightspeed. “High costs and enormous complexity made them partly unaffordable and challenging to manage for small and medium-sized enterprises. RobCo has already made a significant breakthrough in this field with its developments. We recognise both technological and commercial potential for the German and international markets. It is crucial to optimally foster this potential and make robotic automation solutions accessible to all companies.”

“We are only at the beginning of an extensive journey in automation and aim to become a leader in modular robot automation for SMEs in Europe. RobCo is uniquely positioned with its easy-to-implement robots that offer a positive ROI from day one”, adds Roman Hölzl. “We see ourselves as an extension of companies in automating their production and supporting the transformation towards