Tokyo-based Telexistence said Thursday that it has raised $170 million (23 billion yen) in a Series B round of funding from SoftBank, Airbus Ventures, Monoful Partners, KDDI Open Innovation Fund, a fund set up by Foxconn and CTBC Financial Holdings, and Globis Capital Partners. With the latest round, Telexistence has raised a total of approximately $193.5 million (27.5 billion yen) since its inception.
Founded in 2017, Telexistence develops AI-powered robotic arms for the retail and logistics industry. Last year, the company said it would deploy its robots in 300 FamilyMart convenience stores across Japan.
The company will use its fresh capital to bolster its workforce globally, CEO Jin Tomioka said in a statement. But aside from the funding, Telexistence is also announcing a strategic partnership with SoftBank Robotics Group, a unit of SoftBank Group, to ramp up its commercialization in North America. Telexistence is currently in talks with major convenience store chains in North America to conduct proof of concept in the near future, according to the company. Moreover, the startup said it will work with Foxconn to produce its next-generation robot, called “Ghost.”
SoftBank Robotics Group’s Kenichi Kent Yoshida, and Globis Capital Partners’ Ryohei Nomoto will join Telexistence’s board of directors as a result of their investment.
SoftBank has been more than a little bullish about investments in the robotics realm, having backed California-based Bear Robotics back in 2020. Via the SoftBank Vision Fund 2, it has also made investments in Shanghai-based Keenon Robotics, which specializes in developing service robots, and Opentrons, a medical testing robot developer.
This article has been updated with information from Telexistence.