Avidbots, maker of autonomous industrial cleaning robots, nabs $70M

Avidbots, a Canadian robotics manufacturer that develops autonomous cleaning robots, has raised $70 million in a Series C round of funding.

Founded out of Kitchener, Ontario, in 2014, Avidbots has built a robotic floor cleaner called the Neo 2, designed for commercial environments such as airports, warehouses and shopping malls.

The Neo 2 is already being used by U.S. airports in Huntsville and Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky, while Singaporean rail operator SMRT Trains has also signed up for some Neo 2 magic — in total, the company said that it has more than 1,000 robots deployed across North America, Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Australia.

Rise of the machines

As with just about every automated system these days, one of the core selling points behind Neo 2 is that it helps companies negate issues such as employee absenteeism and hight staff turnover, which is particularly crucial at a time when the so-called great resignation has shown little sign of easing — though in truth, machines such as Neo 2 are also likely to circumvent the need to hire certain types of workers at all.

On top of that, robotic cleaners also provide companies with a great deal of data and performance-measurability — through a web-based command center, management can check in on where each member of the fleet is at any given time, and see how much more surface area it has to disinfect.

Avidbots’ Neo in action. Image Credits: Avidbots

There are countless robotics companies working on the sort of problem that Avidbots is addressing — nobody really enjoys cleaning, but it’s necessary, particularly in commercial environments where consumers expect cleanliness. Already we’re seeing companies build robotic window washers, while some startups are firmly focused on niche use cases such as cleaning ship hulls.

Amazon, meanwhile, is currently in the process of scooping up domestic robotics company iRobot for a cool $1.7 billion — and just today news emerged that iRobot has built a two-in-one Roomba robot that both vacuums and mops.

So it’s clear that people like things to be clean, something that isn’t set to change any time soon, and this is why Avidbots has now added a further $70 million in funding to its pot, having previously raised $37 million in its eight-year history.

With its latest cash injection, Avidbots said it’s planning to expand its fleet of cleaning bots, while continuing to improve the underlying software that powers the machines. It’s also looking to bolster its headcount by around 100 over the next year.

Avidbots’ Series C round was led by Jeneration Capital, with participation from GGV Capital, True Ventures, Kensington Capital Partners, Next 47, SOSV,  BDC Capital, Golden Ventures, BMO Capital Partners, Golden Vision Capital and Nicola Wealth.