Agile Robots: Series C financing led by SoftBank

Photo: Medi­cal robots from Agile Robots: huma­noid, sensi­tive five-finger hands
13. Septem­ber 2021

Munich/Beijing — ARQIS advi­sed Agile Robots AG, a highly inno­va­tive robo­tics company, on its Series C finan­cing round with a total invest­ment volume of US$220 million. Agile Robots is thus the first German Unicorn in the robo­tics indus­try, beco­ming the highest rated robo­tics company world­wide. The proceeds from this finan­cing will be used prima­rily for product deve­lo­p­ment, series produc­tion and the company’s global sales expan­sion. and is valued at more than one billion US dollars worldwide.

The finan­cing round was led by Soft­Bank Vision Fund 2, follo­wed by finan­cial inves­tors inclu­ding Abu Dhabi Royal Group, Hill­house Ventures, Sequoia Capi­tal China , and Linear Capi­tal (in alpha­be­ti­cal order), as well as stra­te­gic inves­tors Xiaomi Group, Foxconn Indus­trial Inter­net (“FII”), and Midas, foun­ded by former Foxconn executives.

The proceeds from this finan­cing will be used prima­rily for product deve­lo­p­ment in Munich and China, the estab­lish­ment and expan­sion of series produc­tion in Germany and China, and the expan­sion of the company’s global sales activities.

Agile Robots had alre­ady succee­ded in raising funding of over $130 million in two rounds in 2020, and is now the company with the highest amount of funding for an Intel­li­gent Robo­tics company. Agile Robots is curr­ently the world’s only Unicorn in robo­tics with a valua­tion of more than $1 billion. With the closing of this finan­cing round, Agile Robots is the first robo­tics company in which Soft­Bank Vision Fund 2 has inves­ted in Europe and China.

“As part of our ongo­ing commit­ment to the very dyna­mic Chinese market and to support entre­pre­neurs driving a wave of inno­va­tion, we are plea­sed to part­ner with Dr. Zhaopeng Chen, Peter Meusel and the team at Agile Robots,” said Dr. Eric Chen, Mana­ging Part­ner at Soft­Bank Invest­ment Advi­sers. “Agile Robots combi­nes arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence with advan­ced robo­tics tech­no­logy to solve some of the industry’s most chal­len­ging problems, and is the latest exam­ple of our contin­ued support for the growing Euro­pean and Chinese tech­no­logy sectors.”

Agile Robots was foun­ded in 2018 and is head­quar­te­red in both Munich, Germany and Beijing, China. Agile Robots is a robo­tics soft­ware plat­form company with leading hard­ware exper­tise in robo­tics. With the German Aero­space Center (“DLR”) as its tech­ni­cal back­bone and the core concept of “AI Empower­ment”, the company is commit­ted to foste­ring the deep combi­na­tion and inno­va­tion of arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence and robo­tics, and driving the appli­ca­tion of robo­tics into even more indus­trial fields. DLR is not only the first rese­arch insti­tu­tion to send intel­li­gent robots into space and perform complex tasks such as human-robot colla­bo­ra­tion, but also the first in the world to successfully deve­lop force-control­­led robots that have also been adopted by indus­try for their production.

“With its unique tech­no­logy that combi­nes a robo­tics opera­ting system and world-leading sensi­tive robots, Agile Robots is stri­ving to achieve a funda­men­tal breakth­rough in the field of robo­tics,” said Dr. Zhaopeng Chen, foun­der and CEO of Agile Robots AG. “Agile Robots reali­sti­cally brings the next gene­ra­tion of robots into indus­trial intel­li­gent precis­ion assem­bly areas and medi­cal treat­ment scena­rios that previously could only be perfor­med by humans. With the excel­lent support from our renow­ned inves­tors and custo­mers, we are confi­dent to lead robo­tics into a new era,” Zhaopeng Chen continued.

Agile Robots has inde­pendently deve­lo­ped and laun­ched soft­ware and hard­ware products, such as the “Agil­e­Core” opera­ting system for coor­di­na­ting robots and access­ories such as grip­pers and other end effec­tors from various manu­fac­tu­r­ers, the “DIANA” intel­li­gent force-control­­led robot, medi­cal robots, huma­noid five-finger sensi­tive hands, and the flexi­ble intel­li­gent produc­tion plat­form (FIP).

With its unique hard­ware and soft­ware R&D capa­bi­li­ties, Agile Robots has laun­ched a highly disrup­tive “Robo­tic Worker” that serves as an intel­li­gent assistant for all kinds of workers and profes­sio­nals from various fields to perform mundane or hazar­dous tasks. Agile Robots is thus opening up new “blue ocean markets” for intel­li­gent robot appli­ca­ti­ons. Curr­ently, the company has used its robots for produc­tion in nume­rous indus­trial scena­rios. Agile Robots’ products have alre­ady been successfully deployed into mass produc­tion in the consu­mer elec­tro­nics indus­try and are widely used in medi­cal, indus­trial (consu­mer elec­tro­nics, auto­mo­tive, jewelry and other precis­ion assem­bly and manu­fac­tu­ring scena­rios), agri­cul­tu­ral, educa­tio­nal and service sectors. — Agile Robots is expan­ding its market presence world­wide with its 440 employees (140 in Germany and 300 in China).

Consul­tant Agile Robots: ARQIS (Munich):
Prof. Dr. Chris­toph von Einem, Dr. Mauritz von Einem (both lead; both venture capi­tal), Marcus Noth­hel­fer (IP/IT), Dr. Chris­tof Alex­an­der Schnei­der (Düssel­dorf; corpo­rate law); Asso­cia­tes: Benja­min Bandur, Louisa Theresa Graf, Anselm Graf (all venture capi­tal), Nora Meyer-Stra­t­­mann (IP/IT)

ARQIS is an inde­pen­dent busi­ness law firm opera­ting inter­na­tio­nally. The firm was foun­ded in 2006 in Düssel­dorf, Munich and Tokyo. Around 55 lawy­ers and legal specia­lists advise dome­stic and foreign compa­nies at the highest level on German and Japa­nese busi­ness law. With the focus groups Tran­sac­tions, HR.Law, Japan, Data.Law and Risk, the firm is geared towards provi­ding holi­stic advice to its clients.

Espe­ci­ally for China market, Agile Robots has comple­ted the stra­te­gic layout in Northe­ast China, North China, Yangtze River Delta, Pearl River Delta and other regi­ons. And in Germany, series produc­tion is curr­ently being set up in Kauf­beu­ren in the Allgäu region. In addi­tion, Agile has exten­sive stra­te­gic colla­bo­ra­ti­ons with China’s listed ortho­pe­dic surgery robot company TINAVI, the leading neuro­sur­gery robot company Reme­bot, seve­ral top-tier Chinese gene­ral and specialty hospi­tals, New Hope Group, and seve­ral other world-leading compa­nies (such as an inter­na­tio­nal consu­mer elec­tro­nics manu­fac­tu­ring giant, an inter­na­tio­nal tele­com­mu­ni­ca­ti­ons service provi­der, and one of the world’s top 500 elec­tro­nic device manu­fac­tu­r­ers, etc.).

Based on a perso­nal cont­act, the expe­ri­en­ced VC expert Chris­toph von Einem has been advi­sing the company since its foun­da­tion in March 2018. From the Series A finan­cing round onwards, he shared the lead manage­ment with his son Mauritz. The young lawyer and tax advi­sor has been part of the Arqis part­ner team since the begin­ning of 2020 and also hand­led the struc­tu­ring of the tran­sac­tions. His father, who used to head the China desk at White & Case and is ther­e­fore fami­liar with the customs and regu­la­tory requi­re­ments of the Chinese inves­tor commu­nity, also serves as chair­man of the start-up’s super­vi­sory board.

Arqis, toge­ther with its Tokyo office, also coor­di­na­tes the global IP stra­tegy for Agile Robots and deve­lo­ped incen­tive programs for the Chinese and German employees with the mana­gers. Wolf­gang Keil­itz from the Bava­rian boutique Patworx is regu­larly invol­ved for special patent law issues.

About Agile Robots
Agile Robots AG is a high-tech startup based in Munich. Agile Robots is a spin-off of the German Aero­space Center (DLR) and aims to revo­lu­tio­nize the market with its intel­li­gent robot solu­ti­ons. — Our mission is to bridge the gap between arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence and robo­tics by deve­lo­ping systems that combine state-of-the-art force-torque sens­ing and world-leading image proces­sing tech­no­logy. This unique combi­na­tion of tech­no­lo­gies enables us to provide smart, user-friendly and afforda­ble robo­tic solu­ti­ons that enable safe human-robot inter­ac­tion.

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