Friday, 03 May 2019 11:13

NZ’s Invert Robotics secures US$8.8 million in capital raising

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New Zealand’s Invert Robotics has secured a US$8.8 million round of funding, with the capital raised to be used to scale the company’s team, and to fund the planned opening of a US office and expansion of its technology platform and industry-specific solutions.

The funding round was led by Finistere Ventures, an agtech/foodtech venture pioneer, with support from Yamaha Motor Ventures & Laboratory Silicon Valley, the corporate venture capital business of the Yamaha Motor Company.

"The immediate value of Invert Robotics across the global food supply chain — from ensuring food and beverages are stored and transported in safe, pathogen-free environments, to avoiding catastrophic failures in agrichemical-industry containers and plants — is undeniably impressive,” says Arama Kukutai, co-founder and partner, Finistere Ventures.

“However, we see the potential applications as almost limitless. With Invert Robotics, companies across a variety of industries will be able to deploy climbing robots to make asset inspection easier and more effective to avoid life-threatening situations for their workers, their communities and their consumers.”

Invert Robotics offers precise, remote inspection of non-magnetic surfaces such as stainless steel, carbon fibre, aluminium and glass.
 
And the company says its climbing robot is already being used by key players in the global aviation market, alongside major Australian and New Zealand dairy companies and co-operatives such as Fonterra, Synlait and Murray Goldburn.

“The global chemical industry represents another market where Invert Robotics’ technology is helping to keep workers safe while undertaking critical equipment inspections,” the company notes.

“Our climbing robots go where other robots cannot and people should not,” says Invert Robotics managing director Neil Fletcher.

“We give our customers an easier, safer and faster way to inspect the safety and integrity of the most hazardous and toxic environments. Industrial accidents in the chemical industry can be costly and sometimes even deadly, but they are often preventable. Remote inspection solutions that take into account chemical corrosion and high-pressure processing scenarios can help chemical companies improve worker safety, optimise maintenance and avoid future tragedies.”

Invert Robotics also says its climbing robots can securely adhere to surfaces that other robots cannot and go into “confined, treacherous spaces that would put workers’ lives at risk”.

“Going beyond visual inspections, the company’s robots can perform in-depth scans using surface-wave detection and ultrasonic probes to measure wall thickness, assess structural integrity and find defects on any surface.”

“As part of Yamaha’s long-term vision supporting the development of advanced robots to improve workplace efficiency and safety, Invert Robotics’ technology and its value proposition made a positive impression on our investment committee,” adds Craig Boshier, partner and general manager for Yamaha Motor Ventures in Australia and New Zealand.

“Importantly, the robotic technology’s adaptability to different environments and industries is well supported by an engaged team. That combination, with proper capitalisation, positions Invert Robotics for success in its global market expansion.”

Headquartered in New Zealand with offices throughout Europe, Invert Robotics says it will also build out an artificial intelligence platform that will allow customers to take a proactive approach to asset management by predicting potential fail points and future maintenance needs.

The company’s principal European office is located in Eindhoven in the Netherlands.

Invert Robotics says this latest investment adds to the considerable funding it has already received from government and private venture capital sources, including a limited private investor round which raised NZ$9.6 million in 2017, assisted by Joe Capra, founding principal of Australian private equity and investment firm Lennoxgrove Capital.

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Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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