fruitcore robotics , an industrial robotics and automation startup based out of Constance, Germany, is announcing its €23 million series B raise.
The deal features VC names Capricorn Partners and KOMPAS in addition to tech consultancy XAI Technologies and a slate of fruitcore's existing investors, including UVC Partners, the early-stage VC allied to Technical University of Munich, as well as Matterwave Ventures, CNB Capital, family business Pecon and btov Private Investor Network.
The rise of next-wave communications like 5G, NB-IoT and others is fuelling an upping of stakes in the industrial robotics and automation space. fruitcore robotics faces plenty of competition across Europe from the likes of Denmark's Mobile Industrial Robots, which is teaming with Nokia to use private 5G for industrial automation projects. This particular robotics outfit was acquired a couple of years back by Teradyne, the US automatic test equipment player.
While larger factories are more likely to invested in robotics, fruitcore wants to address smaller industrial operators who may be reluctant to spend six figure sums to install automation.
The startup was founded in 2017 and has since commercialised its core robotic systems optimisation technology. Dubbed HORST, this platform consists of industrial-grade robots controlled by digital software designed to automate a number of factory workloads. fruitcore's product also rolls up IoT connectivity protocols, servicing and intelligent camera peripherals, providing an "end-to-end" solution.
With recession looming, there is indeed wriggle room for cost competition given that generalised automation solutions go for as much as $80,000, and up to $150,000 for products offering application-specific peripherals.
Three years into its market launch the HORST platform is being used by 60+ industrial clients across DACH and Italy. It's marketed as offering low investment costs, quick implementing and intuitive customisation. The series B capital has been allocated to product innovation, sales and marketing and international expansion, with fruitcore seeking to secure a large chunk of European market share by 2023-end.
HORST-powered robots are able to run independently to unload factory stock from vehicles, wrap up outbound products and for carrying numerous turned, milled and stamped manufacturing parts.
Patrick Heimburger, fruitcore robotics' chief revenue officer, thinks the startup's growth story has only just started.
Heimburger said: "We are still at the beginning of the robots' growth trajectory, especially in medium-sized businesses, and we are convinced that with our ‘digital robot’ HORST we are one of the game changers and thus a driving force for the broad use of robots in the manufacturing industry."
"We would like to thank our investors for the trust they have placed in us.”
UVC Partners, btov and CNB previously co-led fruitcore's earlier €17 million series A round in October 2021.
Speaking on behalf of UVC Partners, general partner Benjamin Erhart said achieving "scalable automation" in small and medium-sized manufacturing operations remained a "major" economic pain point.
"This is a key to addressing the critical situation of delivery times, growing demand, and production again increasingly focused on Europe on time.
"All this must succeed without having automation specialists in the mass of companies."