2019/01/07 11:00 | Pageview：1313 | From： forbes
Quebec-based robotics startup Robotiq announced that it has raised Can$31 million (about $23.1 million in U.S. dollars) in its first round of venture investment. The entire round of financing comes from Boston-based investment firm Battery Ventures.
Robotiq makes custom grippers, cameras and other sensors that can be attached to the robotic arms made by a variety of companies. It also produces software packages to go with those custom grippers and sensors, making it relatively simple for customers to get robots up and running. The company's focus is on "collaborative robotics" -- that is, using robots in workplace situations where they are nearby and working with humans.
"What we provide is a toolbox that lets customers choose different tools and sensors for their applications," CEO Samuel Bouchard said.
The company does this by making its components plug and play. Its grippers, sensors and software work with different third-party arms, which make it easier for its customers to customize applications. Automation solutions with Robotiq's products have been deployed in automotive companies, additive manufacturing facilities and even an eyewear manufacturing startup.
"We've been looking at this collaborative opportunity and have felt that in the last year - even in the last couple of quarters, we're seeing an inflection in the adoption of collaborative robots,” said Jesse Feldman, who led the investment for Battery Ventures.
Robotiq was founded in 2008 by Bouchard and Laval University classmates Vincent Duchaine and Jean-Philippe Jobin. The three of them had been working on robotics projects with their professor, Clément Gosselin. Starting a business seemed like a natural step, Brouchard said. "I came from a family of entrepreneurs."
Starting a business in 2008 meant hitting the financial crisis, which provided some challenges for the young company. “It was not the best time but things got better. Our first product didn't work that well. But the second one did," he said.
One aim of the company has been to help small manufacturers automate tedious jobs, so that their employees can handle more challenging tasks. "These tasks are redundant and usually performed by humans," Bouchard explained. "A big challenge is that manufacturers have a hard time keeping these operators. By having robots do more tedious tasks, operators can move to more challenging things — which helps our customers attract employees as well."
This type of automation solution has proved to be a good target for Robotiq. It's now currently partnered with 190 distributors in 48 countries, selling its products in a wide variety of industries. With the infusion of capital from Battery Ventures, the company intends to do even more.
"There's a broader range of companies adapting these technologies," says Bouchard. "We believe it's good timing to accelerate our growth."