SEATTLE – WiBotic, a Seattle company that specializes in advanced wireless charging and power optimization solutions for the rapidly expanding ecosystem of aerial, mobile and marine robots, today announced it has secured $5.7 million in Series A funding. Investors include Junson Capital, SV Tech Ventures, Rolling Bay Ventures, Aves Capital, The W Fund and WRF Capital.
Here at the Mobile Robot Guide, we’re super excited for the team at WiBotic to reach this stage in their growth. We’ve been watched them over the last two years as they’ve iterated on their wireless charging solution and built the channel and partner relationships necessary to prove the viability of the technology.
The company spun out of the University of Washington, Seattle in 2015 when co-founders Ben Waters and his EE advisor/professor Josh Smith realized the opportunity for wireless charging in the emerging drone and autonomous mobile robot markets.
With their seed round in 2017 and some initial funding in 2015, WiBotic (pronounced “why”-botic) has raised a total of almost $9M (USD) to this point.
“WiBotic will use the Series A funding to accelerate the company’s growth, expand our sales team, advance hardware and software engineering, and fulfill increased customer demand,” said Ben Waters, WiBotic CEO. “Our mission is to power the world of autonomous systems. By providing mission-critical technologies for autonomous charging and fleet energy management, we help organizations quickly scale-up robotic fleets, improve robot uptime while reducing recurring charging and maintenance costs. Our successful Series A funding accelerates our innovation and growth to ensure we lead the charge in powering autonomous systems.”
Why We Like WiBotic
WiBotic is the leader in wireless charging and power optimization solutions for the robotics industry, and provides next-generation off-the-shelf hardware and software systems that most customers can use out of the box with any type of robot or drone. The WiBotic solution replaces contact-style chargers provided by most AMR vendors. Similarly, for commercial drones, a drone can land on top of wireless charging station and recharge without any human touch. This enables remote recharging (like on a building roof) and no human interaction.
The WiBotic wireless charging solution works both indoors and outdoors. (Image Courtesy of WiBotic)
With the growth of automation in retail and commercial real estate, WiBotic becomes the “Great Unifier” from a charging station perspective. In retail, there are now AMRs for inventory management, floor cleaning, facility disinfection and security. When each of these AMR come from a different vendor, they will each require their respective charging stations to be place somewhere in the facility. The WiBotic wireless charging solutions eliminates the need to find space for each individual charging station. Instead, a single (or multiple) WiBotic charging station(s) can serve the charging needs of an entire heterogeneous AMR fleet within a facility. The units can also safely be placed in public areas (like front of house in retail, or in a mall setting).
“WiBotic provides highly reliable wireless power solutions and really understands the complexities associated with managing hundreds or thousands of batteries in a fleet that all need to get charged up,” said Geoff Entress, Series A investor and Managing Director at Rolling Bay Ventures. “This is a market that’s well positioned for growth. According to ABI Research’s recent Commercial and Industrial Robotics market data report, the robotics market is projected to hit a market valuation of $277 billion by 2030. This is driving increased demand for wireless charging technology that works seamlessly, with minimal human intervention. We’re optimistic about WiBotic’s vision and its ability to capture significant market share in a burgeoning industry.”
Other Use Cases for Wireless Charging
While interviewing the WiBotic management team for this article, sales leader Matt Carlson described a unique use case for one of their clients: The customer is a steel foundry, with difficult environmental conditions. One of the gear driven steel carts requires power to operate some onboard sensors, and these sensors were operating with a reel wound power cable. By replacing the power cable with a batter and WiBotic wireless charger, the system in now much more reliable and the cart can opportunity charge during dwell times when it is not on its operational run.
The WiBotic engineering team has developed a product line of embedded charging controllers. The charging controller rides on the robot/drone and includes a CAN bus interface and open API to the robot controller so that charging is controlled by the robot itself. The WiBotic charging unit/antennae can also be white-labeled by AMR/Drone manufacturers.
Additionally Mark Rogers, Chief Revenue Officer at Coolfire Solutions, has joined WiBotic’s Board of Directors. Mark has extensive expertise partnering with startups to enhance their sales strategies and revenue streams and was previously SVP of Business Development at Mendix (acquired by Siemens). He also held senior roles at Microsoft including global head of Microsoft Azure product management when it launched into the market, as well as leading global ISV and Developer Marketing for Microsoft Windows.
“With the addition of Mark to our Board of Directors, WiBotic has gained a proven leader who will contribute significantly to our vision, technology and business growth,” continued Ben Waters. “We’re thrilled to have attracted prominent investors, as well as a talented and experienced team of thought leaders and advisors, as we take our products to the next level of maturity.”