Norwegian AI and robotics company 1X has today announced the successful completion of an EQT Ventures-led $100 million Series B funding round that will see the company scale production and deployment of its androids.
As part of the round, 1X also conducted a secondary transaction to ensure stock option liquidity for eligible team members. Existing investors Sandwater and Skagerak Capital participated in the transaction alongside new investors Samsung NEXT and Norwegian investment firm the Nistad group.
“This is the first time we are able to offer a payout to our dedicated team. Their contributions have been pivotal to our success. As we embark on this exciting new chapter, we look forward to continuing to recognise and reward the efforts of our team, both past and future. Let's continue to innovate and lead our industry,” commented 1X CEO Bernt Øivind Børnich.
A decade in the making
For nearly a decade, 1X, formerly known as Halodi Robotics, has been working to transform the stuff of science fiction into that of science fact.
Beginning with the vision of producing general-purpose robots that can work alongside humans, 1X’s first breakthrough arrived in 2018 when the company introduced a high torque to-weight drive servo motor, Revo1. This motor mimics the action of organic muscle movements and provides 1X robots with a uniquely human-like manner of motion.
Two years later the company scored a win with Everon (formerly ADT Commercial), a US-based security company, that saw 250 androids deployed as night guards in commercial facilities.
A major leap forward for 1X arrived in 2022 when 1X and OpenAi announced a partnership that would see the latter’s technology pave the way for a far more intelligent robot. In March of 2023, OpenAI’s Startup Fund led 1X’s $23.5 million Series A round.
While 1X’s early offer, dubbed EVE is a wheeled android that’s designed primarily to operate in the fields of logistics, retail, and security, its form factor makes it instantly recognisable as non-human.
Today’s investment will continue to support EVE, however, the bulk of the capital will be put towards the delivery of 1X’s second iteration, NEO.
Designed as a bipedal humanoid, NEO goes beyond heavy lifting and scaring off would-be thieves and delivers a decidedly more delicate touch. Whereas EVE is marketed to the commercial sector, NEO is 1X’s consumer play. With a much more human-like appearance, the android is capable of everyday home assistance and domestic tasks.
NEO is still in development, but due to the very nature of artificial intelligence, 1X says that as more and more of the androids exit the factory and enter the real world they’ll get smarter and be able to take on increasingly more complex tasks over time.
1X CEO Bernt Øivind Børnich adds:
“We are thrilled that these leading investors are supporting 1X’s mission of safely deploying Androids with Smart Behavior into new markets. Our next milestone will be scaling our data collection strategy for Embodied AI and offering NEO to consumers.”
On leading 1X’s $100 million Series B round, EQT Ventures partner Ted Persson concludes:
“From Leonardo da Vinci, to today’s sci-fi, humans have dreamt of humanoid robots for more than 500 years. It’s a privilege to witness the enabling technologies form in front of our eyes, in real time.
“The impact of androids joining our human workforce, on our terms will be transformative (to say the least). We’re convinced 1X with their NEO androids will play a crucial role in the pioneering steps towards the first forays of our technological and human future.”
Lead image via 1X. Photo: Uncredited.