Brain Corp raises $36m as demand for autonomous robots spikes

Usage of BrainOS-powered machines jumps 13.6 per cent in March 2020.

US-based Brain Corp has raised $36 million in Series D funding to help meet the growing demand for autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) in retail, healthcare, airports, education and other industries now on the front lines of the COVID-19 health crisis.

The round was led by returning investor SoftBank Vision Fund 1, and includes new investors ClearBridge Investments, LLC and Satwik Ventures, and an additional investment from Qualcomm Ventures LLC.

“We have always envisioned a world where robots make the lives of people safer, easier, and more productive,” said Brain Corp CEO, Dr Eugene Izhikevich.

“Autonomous robots are playing a vital role in supporting essential businesses and their workers during this health crisis. This investment will help us continue our pace of innovation and fuel our growth as we execute on the opportunity in front of us.”

Original equipment manufacturing (OEM) partners, such as Tennant Company, Nilfisk, Alfred Kärcher SE & Co. KG, Minuteman International, Dane Technologies, UniCarriers Americas and others, license Brain Corp’s robotic AI software, BrainOS.

The new funds will be used to further expand Brain Corp’s growth into new robotic applications beyond floor care, including inventory delivery, shelf analytics, and other applications that improve employee productivity, reduce costs, and enhance customer experiences.

The capital will also be used to support the manufacturing and sales efforts of OEM partners in new markets, such as those in Europe and Asia-Pacific.

Aram Green, managing director, ClearBridge Investments, said world events have brought the value of automation sharply into focus.

“We see Brain Corp playing an integral role as market adoption for robotics accelerates.”

Retailers significantly ramped up their use of robotic floor scrubbers as the COVID-19 outbreak grew this year. Autonomous usage of BrainOS-powered machines in retail locations in the US spiked 13.6 per cent in March 2020, compared to the same month last year, and 13 per cent during Q1 of this year, according to internal network data.

According to the San-Diego based company, BrainOS-enabled robots are on track to deliver more than a quarter million hours of work over the next 30 days.

Working with OEM partners, Brain Corp has deployed or enabled more than 10,000 robots, one of the largest indoor fleets of its kind operating in public spaces.

Customers include several Fortune 500 brands, including Walmart and Kroger, as well as Giant Eagle, C&W Services, Simon Property Group, and dozens of other grocers, retailers, airports, educational institutions, and others.

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