Groove X, humanoid startup by former Pepper project leader, raises up to $57M

Groove X founder and CEO Kaname Hayashi
From Groove X’s YouTube video

Tokyo-based Groove X, the humanoid robot developer founded by Kaname Hayashi — who was responsible for the Pepper project at Softbank — announced on Monday it has raised up to 4.35 billion yen ($38.7 million in US) in their latest series A round.

Participating investors in this round were Mirai Creation Fund, Japanese government-backed investment company Innovation Network Corporation of Japan (INCJ), Shenzhen Capital Group, Line Ventures, Dai-ichi Seiko (TSE:6640), Global Catalyst Partners Japan (GCPJ), Taiwan’s Amtran Technology (TPE:2489), OSG (TSE:6136) and SMBC Venture Capital.

Mirai Creation Fund is run by Tokyo-based investment company Sparx Group (TSE:8739) with financial backing from Toyota Motors (TSE:7203) and Sumitomo Mitsui Bank. INCJ has agreed to additionally invest up to 2.1 billion yen ($18.7 million in US) in a series B round.

This round follows the company’s previous seed funding in January and September of 2016 when they raised 1.42 billion yen ($12.6 million) from Mirai Creation Fund, Amtran and Dai-ichi Seiko, in addition to GCPJ. With all these funding rounds in the past and in planning, the company will have raised a total of 8 billion yen (about $71.1 million) through series B.

During the press conference on Monday, Hayashi announced that his company aims to introduce a humanoid robot called Lovot, named by combining Love and Robot, in late 2018 followed by commencing sales in 2019. Details of the concept have not been unveiled but the new product is expected to be one optimized for the lifestyle of urban residents.

Edited by “Tex” Pomeroy