START-UP ENERGY ROBOTICS WINS EXPERIENCED VENTURE CAPITALIST AND WELL-KNOWN INDUSTRY GIANTS AS INVESTORS
Earlybird Venture Capital and other renowned investors join Darmstadt-based software provider for mobile AI-based robotics solutions
Back in September we wrote about Energy Robotics, a leading developer of software solutions for mobile inspection robots. Today we are happy to announce and report they have received two million euros in seed funding. The round is led by Earlybird, alongside other prominent business angels. Energy Robotics offers the first commercially available software platform that brings together a hardware-independent robot operating system, cloud-based fleet management, and AI-driven data analysis for industrial applications. The new investment enables the Darmstadt-based team to further develop their software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution and expand their product portfolio towards a platform economy and robot-as-a-service. The company is now at the forefront of shaping a transformation triggered by autonomous, intelligent robots.
With the entry of a number of top tier investors, Energy Robotics is taking the next step in the company’s short history. In addition to European technology investor Earlybird, which has led first financing rounds in billion-dollar companies such as UiPath, N26 and Peak Games, further investors are participating: multi-supervisory board member Dr. Paul Achleitner, former CEO of Austrian oil company OMV Dr. Gerhard Roiss, and Martin Klässner, e-mobility expert and CEO of has-to-be GmbH. Business angel and serial entrepreneur, Andrej Henkler, known for his early investments in companies such as Palantir, is also among the new investors.
Earlybird sees great potential in the Darmstadt-based start-up: “The perfectly-coordinated founding team of Energy Robotics combines decades of experience and leading expertise in intelligent autonomous software for mobile robots with visionary entrepreneurship and a “doer” mentality,” says Dr. Andre Retterath, Principal at Earlybird. “The company is growing fast -despite its early stage; the team has already been able to win numerous pilot and license customers such as Shell, Dow Chemical, E.ON and Merck. We are firmly convinced of Energy Robotics’ hardware-independent software approach. It allows the start-up to assemble the best possible fleet of mobile autonomous robots from various third-party vendors for a variety of customer use cases, controlling everything through a common interface and thus scaling optimally at the data processing level.
Innovation Made in Germany
Energy Robotics has launched the first commercially available software platform for industrial applications that combines three essential components of intelligent control of mobile autonomous robots: a hardware-independent robot operating system, a cloud-based fleet management, and an AI-powered data analysis. The robots are used for remote inspection and monitoring, especially in industries with harsh and demanding environments such as the oil, gas and petrochemical industries, but also increasingly in the energy and security industries. The company relies on a SaaS model to do this, offering its software solution and associated IT infrastructure along with hardware from various third-party vendors.
“We see our solution as a platform for autonomous remote inspection and monitoring. Our goal is to offer customers our software in combination with the hardware they require, and the robot best suited to their specific use case. In doing so, the platform not only combines different types of robots, but at the same time enables the integration of a variety of apps to perform AI-based analysis of the collected data,” explains Marc Dassler, Co-Founder and CEO of Energy Robotics. “With the newly acquired capital, we are now in a position to grow further and expand our offering and partner network. We are therefore very pleased to have Earlybird and the other investors on our side who see our vision as forward-looking and are promoting it accordingly. For us, it is clear: autonomous robots will significantly change the coming decade, and we are at the forefront of shaping this change.”
With Boston Dynamics and its walking robot Spot, the Darmstadt-based company’s network expanded in September 2020 to include another well-known robot manufacturer. The start of the collaboration was marked by a joint project at the Merck pharmaceutical group in Darmstadt. There, Spot was equipped by Energy Robotics with cameras, sensors and intelligent control software to record inspection data during autonomous inspection tours. In this specific application, the walking robot can read pressure gauges and inspects air outlets.
Despite its relatively short history, Energy Robotics can already look back on remarkable milestones. In addition to the successfully completed financing round, the founding team around Dr. Stefan Kohlbrecher, Dr. Alberto Romay, Dr. Dorian Scholz, Marc Dassler and Prof. Dr. Oskar von Stryk has won numerous awards over the past 15 years, including the ARGOS Challenge (2017), the WRS Plant Disaster Prevention Challenge (2018), various disciplines of the RoboCup World Championship (several times, most recently in 2019) and the E.ON Startup Challenge (2020).
Founded in 2019 as a spin-off of Darmstadt University of Technology, Energy Robotics is a pioneer of mobile robots for autonomous inspection of industrial facilities. The startup offers the first commercially available software platform that brings together a hardware-independent robot operating system, cloud-based fleet management and AI-driven data analytics for industrial applications.
Mobile robots equipped with Energy Robotics software are used for remote inspection and monitoring in demanding environments such as the oil & gas, petrochemical, security and energy industries. 20 robots with a total of more than 20,000 operating hours are already in operation on four continents, deployed together with their hardware partners ExRobotics and Boston Dynamics.
Energy Robotics originated at TU Darmstadt through the EXIST research transfer program of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) and the European Social Fund (ESF).
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