Roobo, maker of artificial intelligence robots, raised $53 million in a Series B funding round led by Seven Seas Partners, a Chinese VC. This is in addition to the $100 million raised last year. The managing partner of Seven Seas, Jeff Xiong Minghua, who was Tencent’s CTO for eight years, will become Roobo’s new CEO.
They make the robotic operating system ROSAI, a language processing chip, and service robots PUDDING S, PUDDING BEANQ, JELLY, and DOMGY. The PUDDING series is Roobo’s first home education and companion robot system. It is designed for kids and the two PUDDING models have sold over 100,000 units.
For the Pudding Educational social robot they have partnered with Princeton University to make a system that will help with a child’s educational development.
Amazon Echo sales to date have totaled 19.5-21.5 million units. Non-echo smart speakers with Alexa are estimated to be in the 1 million unit range through Q3 2017.
75% of the U.S. market for these Internet-connected devices, which people can use with their voices to order take out food, check their bank accounts, check the weather, and play music. Google Home is second with about 24% of the market.
Apple has sold more than one billion iPhones worldwide from 2007 to 2016.
Apple’s total iPod sales passed 10 million from 2001 to 2004. 8.2 million units sold in 2004 alone. So Amazon Alexa could be in the 2004-2005 timeframe of where iPod was.
Significant sales but not mainstream yet
The worldwide number of domestic household robots will rise to 31 million between 2016 and 2019. The sales value of robots cleaning floors, mowing lawns, and cleaning swimming pools will grow to about 13 billion US dollars in this period.
In the coming years, vacuum and floor cleaning robots will continue to dominate household robot markets. Sales will rise from 3.6 million units (2015) to around 30 million units within the 2016-2019 forecast period. Vacuum and floor cleaning robots account for 96 percent of domestic robot sales. Robotic mowers and pool cleaning robots rank second and third.
Tens of millions of sales are significant but not the billion level of iPhones and smartphones. Smartphones are must haves. Roombas are nice to have.
ROS.AI is an artificial intelligence solution platform to provide AI interaction capability overall solution for equipments.
ROS.AI provides developer with hardware module, software system and various artificial intelligence services, and is a more comprehensive and flexible open platform and a solution platform.
Seven Seas has invested in a variety of robotic and consumer product startups including RightHand Robotics and Lily. The reason Seven Seas put such a big bet on Roobo is that Xiong thinks it will become one of the leading companies in IoT (Internet of Things). Xiong thinks that the next-generation of AI Internet companies need to know how to integrate products with services. Roobo is trying to be the leading company in the area of AI Robotics.
Roobo has partnered with Nuance to launch multilingual versions of their robots.