Robust.AI today announced that it has raised a $15 million Series A, led by Jazz Venture Partners. Existing partners Playground Global, Liquid2, Fontinalis, Jaan Tallinn and Mark Leslie also participated in the round, which brings the Bay Area-based robotics AI startup’s funding up to $22.5 million.
Founded mid-2019, the company counts Rodney Brooks among its C-level executives. The iRobot co-founder serves as the startup’s CTO, following the unexpected closure of the promising (but financially untenable) Rethink, which gave the world the Baxter and Sawyer robots. (Fellow iRobot co-founder Helen Greiner also notably landed at a new venture in recent months). CEO Gary Marcus, meanwhile, is also the co-founder of Geometric Intelligence, which was acquired by Uber, back in 2016.
At the core of Robust.AI are plans to build “the world’s first industrial-grade cognitive engine for robots,” essentially providing collaborative robots sufficient problem-solving capacity to effectively work alongside humans.
The company is still quite new, but many robotics and automation investments have seemingly been fast-tracked by a pandemic that has hamstrung much of the human workforce. Robust’s stated mission is to overhaul the software stack that runs many of these machines, in order to to make them function better in often complex environments.
“Finding market fit is as important in robots and AI systems as any other product,” Brooks said in a statement. “We are building something we believe most robotics companies will find irresistible, taking solutions from single-purpose tools that today function in defined environments, to highly useful systems that can work within our world and all its intricacies.”