Building robotic safety inspectors nabs Gecko Robotics $40 million

Gecko Robotics has landed $40 million in financing as it looks to build an additional 40 robots over the next year to meet what the company sees as growing demand for its safety and infrastructure monitoring services.

“We are growing fast solving critical infrastructure problems that affect our lives, and can even save lives,” says Jake Loosararian, Gecko Robotics’ 28-year-old co-founder and chief executive officer, in a statement. “At our core, we are a robot-enabled software company that helps stop life-threatening catastrophes. We’ve developed a revolutionary way to use robots as an enabler to capture data for predictability of infrastructure; reducing failure, explosions, emissions and billions of dollars of loss each year.”

In the three years since its launch in 2016, Gecko Robotics has managed to grow from a small team of Pittsburgh robotics experts hailing from Carnegie Mellon. Indeed, the company has added more than 100 new employees. The hiring push has been largely around creating a team of qualified experts in particular market segments who can operate the robots that Gecko deploys to industrial work sites.

There’s been something of a robotics revolution in the safety and compliance market over the past few years. From automated assembly lines to warehouses and now to chemical plants and refineries, robots are making their presence felt.

And Gecko isn’t the only company that’s trying to tackle the market. Other companies like Invert Robotics, a Christchurch, New Zealand-based company, has built its own competitive robotic safety inspector.

The initial pitch from Gecko managed to attract angel investors like Mark Cuban, Deep Nishar (a managing partner at SoftBank), Josh Reeves and Jake Seid, the managing director at Stone Bridge Ventures.

Now the company adds the Midwestern venture capital juggernaut Drive Capital to its stable of investors.

“We are very excited for the future of robotics in industrial inspection. The Gecko Robotics team are revolutionizing an industry that is in need of a real upgrade and will save lives,” said Mark Kvamme, lead investor and partner at Drive Capital. “I see amazing potential for Gecko’s business model, they are on the path to become a market leader in their industry.”

Gecko Robotics has already opened a 20,000-square-foot office in Houston, and has offices in Houston, Austin and Pittsburgh.

“The robots are amazing, but they’re not going to be able to complete the job done by these experts who have experience of 30 to 40 years,” says Loosararian. “We have thought leaders who go out in the field… they take the robots out and they use their own manual ability and knowledge to provide the expertise to the clients.”

Gecko currently has 60 robots in its stable of robots and will add at least another 40 over the course of the year. “The product at the end is the software license that they pay for annually,” Loosararian says.