Intuition Robotics, maker of the ElliQ robotic elder care assistant, and opened an office in San Francisco. As it looks to grow staff and ramp up testing of the product, the company has raised another $14 million, this time from Toyota Research Institute (TRI).
ElliQ, which the company likes to call an “active aging companion,” is made up of an interactive robot attached to a tablet, and is designed to help older adults age in place. The robot was built to keep the elderly engaged, active, and connected to the outside world, first by allowing families to video chat with older relatives and second by acting as a companion to suggest activities and remind elderly users to take their medicine.
Intuition Robotics recently entered the initial testing phase of the companion robot with users in the Bay Area, and is actively hiring a team there. With those plans underway, the company was looking to add more funding to its war chest and add some expertise along the way because, well, hardware is hard.
With the Toyota Research Institute investment, the company got both. According to Intuition Robotics CEO Dor Skuler, Toyota approached the robotics company after learning what it was working on and immediately provided value by helping to replace some of the motors in the ElliQ prototype.
“At this stage of the product, we do need help, and it’s very refreshing to be approached by an investor that has studied this space and has some expertise,” Skuler told me.
The new funding follows $6 million that Intuition Robotics raised from investors that include Roomba maker iRobot, Terra Venture Partners, Bloomberg Beta and Maniv Mobility. The company also raised money through crowdfunding platform OurCrowd.