Japan’s LifeRobotics closes series B round with $9 million in funding



See the original story in Japanese.

Tokyo-based LifeRobotics, the Japanese startup behind the Coro robot, announced on Monday that it has closed its series B round, having raised about 1 billion yen (about $9 million). This follows its series A round which raised about 500 million yen (about $4.4 million at the exchange rate then) upon closing in March this year. The latest round means that the company has secured a total of about 1.5 billion yen (about $13.4 million) within almost one year since they began raising funds last November.

Participating investors in this round were Global Brain, Mitsui Fudosan (TSE:8801), Japan’s leading industrial electronics manufacturer Koden Holdings, Mizuho Capital, Golden Asia Fund as well as other unnamed Japanese businesses. Golden Asia Fund is a joint venture between Japan’s Mitsubishi UFJ Capital and Industrial Technology Investment Corporation (ITIC), the investment arm of Taiwan’s Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI). Among these investors, Global Brain, Koden Holdings and Mitsubishi UFJ Capital participated in the previous series A round too. The series B round at this time around was led by Global Brain.

LifeRobotics was founded in December 2007 by Dr. Woo-Keun Yoon, who has been studying robot arms at Japan’s National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) and other research institutions for over 15 years. His team has been developing robots that allow users to “teach” the robot how to move using a 3D mouse or a game pad without complex programming skills. The company is developing the “co-robot” Coro for small manufacturing spaces where conventional robots are difficult to be placed, in addition to improving people’s productivity and promoting manufacturing automation.

According to Life Robotics, the Coro co-robot has been adopted by big Japanese companies like Toyota Motors (TSE:7203) and Omron (TSE:6645) as well as restaurant chain businesses such as Yoshinoya (TSE:9861) and Royal (TSE:8179). The company claims that they will use the funds to enhance mass-production/sales of the co-robot and improve follow-up services for users.

Edited by “Tex” Pomeroy