Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Brain raises $36m to expand robotics AI business

Steve Rogerson
May 5, 2020



California-based robotics AI company Brain has raised $36m in series D funding to help meet the growing demand for autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) in retail, healthcare, airports, education and other industries on the front lines of the Covid-19 health crisis.
 
"We have always envisioned a world where robots make the lives of people safer, easier and more productive," said Brain CEO Eugene Izhikevich. "Autonomous robots are playing a vital role in supporting essential businesses and their workers during this health crisis. This investment will help us continue our pace of innovation and fuel our growth as we execute on the opportunity in front of us."
 
OEMs such as Tennant, Nilfisk, Alfred Kärcher, Minuteman International, Dane Technologies and UniCarriers license Brain's robotic AI software, BrainOs, to create autonomous mobile robots that can operate safely in dynamic indoor public spaces.
 
The new funds will be used to expand Brain's growth into new robotic applications beyond floor care, including inventory delivery, shelf analytics and other applications that improve employee productivity, reduce costs and enhance customer experiences. The capital will also be used to support the manufacturing and sales efforts of OEMs in new markets, such as those in Europe and Asia-Pacific.
 
The round was led by returning investor SoftBank, and includes new investors ClearBridge Investments and Satwik Ventures, and an additional investment from Qualcomm Ventures.
 
"Brain exemplifies the innovative, market leading businesses we seek as partners," said Aram Green, managing director of ClearBridge Investments. "World events have brought the value of automation sharply into focus, and we see Brain playing an integral role as market adoption for robotics accelerates."
 
Retailers significantly ramped up their use of robotic floor scrubbers as the Covid-19 outbreak grew this year, highlighting the value that robotics can deliver. Autonomous usage of BrainOs-powered machines in retail locations in the USA spiked 13.6% in March 2020, compared with the same month last year, and 13% during Q1 of this year, according to internal network data. In addition, BrainOs-enabled robots are on track to deliver more than a quarter million hours of work over the next 30 days, giving essential workers time back to focus on other tasks.
 
Working with OEM partners, Brain has deployed or enabled more than 10,000 robots, one of the largest indoor fleets of its kind operating in public spaces. Users include several Fortune 500 brands such as Walmart and Kroger, as well as Giant Eagle, C&W Services, Simon Property Group, and dozens of other grocers, retailers, airports and educational institutions.
 
BofA Securities acted as placement agent for the company.
 
Brain is a San Diego-based AI company creating core technology for the robotics industry. It supports the builders of autonomous machines in producing, deploying and supporting robots across commercial industries and applications.