Elementary Robotics has raised $3.6 million in seed funding to begin building a manufacturing facility and expand its presence in Los Angeles as the city continues to grow as a hub for robotics and automation.
Earlier this year, Embodied announced a $22 million round for its personal robotics platform focused on healthcare and wellness, while InVia Robotics accumulated $20 million for its own take on the robotics industry.
With lead investors like Fika Ventures and Fathom Capital, and co-investors, including Toyota AI Ventures, Ubiquity Ventures, Riot.vc, Osage University Partner and Stage Venture Partners, Elementary Robotics is readying itself for commercial pilots with a few undisclosed clients as it proves out its technology.
Elementary Robotics was co-founded by Bill Gross, the brains behind an increasingly resurgent Idealab incubator, and Arye Barnehama, a former head of design at the augmented reality startup DAQRI.
Gross and Barnehama fulfilled through a reciprocal friend in the robotics industry in Los Angeles, the chief executive of Embodied, Paolo Pirjanian, Barnehama wrote in an email. That was around 2017, when the two first began brainstorming how they would build their company. After about a year of research, the company launched with an initial investment of $1.2 million.
That thinking became the seeds for Elementary Robotics and was one of the areas of the company that attracted Toyota AI Ventures as a co-investor.
According to a statement from Jim Adler, the founding managing director of Toyota AI Ventures,
The investment is part of the corporate investment arm’s call for innovation through its Toyota Research Institute( TRI ).
Barnehama was tight-lipped about the specifics of the technology that Elementary is using for its robotic stack.” Nothing is final because we are still quite early, but we’re employing 3D depth-sensing cameras along with proprietary custom hardware elements. Beyond that I can’t comment further right now ,” the chief executive said.
And Barnehama was equally vague about the company’s mission.” We are building our robots to augment current human output and performance, and enable existing workforces to have greater throughput as well as focus on more complex, human judgment-centered decisions. We look to automate high-repetition duties and processes while avoiding big upfront capital expenditures and complex multi-year custom constructs ,” he wrote in an email.
In a separate email, Gross laid out exactly what he found so promising about Elementary’s combination of machine learning and image recognition tools software and robotics.
As a result of the investment, Fika Ventures co-founder and managing spouse Eva Ho will take a seat on the company’s board of directors.
Elementary is simply Fika’s second investment in a hardware company, and Ho was of the view that the commitment was driven by Arye himself.
” I satisfied Arye almost a year before we wrote the check — and he really enunciated a very clear eyesight of where he saw the gaps were in the robotics industry ,” according to Ho.” During his patron research, he was soreness by how difficult it was for a corporation to get robots into production contexts — that the investment is not merely in the expensive robots but the kind of talent you needed … to construct them run, was so prohibitive … Arye and Bill felt there had to be a better style to introduce automation of repeatable duties into a multitude of contexts in a manner that is that consumers have been trained by Google and Apple .”
In addition, the proximity to some of the world’s best public sector robotics labs makes a compelling lawsuit for Los Angeles as a burgeoning hub for the robotics industry.