Although the number of robotics, artificial intelligence, drone, and autonomous vehicle transactions fell in May 2020, investors and industry analysts remained cautiously optimistic. Last month, self-driving car companies raised more than $1 billion, followed by supply chain, healthcare, and other automation providers.
In May 2020, Robotics Business Review tracked 18 deals worth about $1.5 billion, compared with 26 robotics transactions worth more than $600 million in April 2020 and $1.5 billion in 27 transactions in May 2019. In a recent study, Silicon Valley Bank noted that the trend toward fewer, larger deals has continued.
The slump in global manufacturing had a ripple effect on automation, as several countries have faced a second wave of COVID-19 infections and closures. China, which was first affected by the novel coronavirus, has also been the first to recover, according to IHS Markit.
Diversification of production and supply chains could also help robotics rebound, said several industry analysts. Investors have shown confidence in leading robotics manufacturers such as ABB and Rockwell Automation, said The Motley Fool in late April.
The table below lists fundings in millions of U.S. dollars, where amounts were publicly available.
Robotics investments, May 2020
|Company||Amt. (M$)||Type||Lead investor, partner||Date||Technology|
|arculus||17.52||Series A||Atomico||May 19||mobile robots|
|Beijing Idriverplus Technology Co.||Series C1||HOPU-Arm Innovation Fund||May 27||autonomous vehicles|
|Cerescon BV||3.29||investment||May 20||asparagus harvester|
|Covariant||40||Series B||Index Ventures||May 6||AI, manipulation|
|Didi Chuxing Technology Co.||500||investment||SoftBank Vision Fund 2||May 29||autonomous vehicles|
|Fourier Intelligence||Series B||Qianhai FOF||May 6||rehabilitation|
|Galaxis Technology Co.||Series D||CICC Capital||May 26||mobile robots|
|Motovis||14.1||investment||CGP Investments, Boxin Capital||May 12||autonomous vehicles|
|Scandit||80||Series C||G2VP||May 26||computer vision, AR|
|SiMa.ai||30||Series A||Dell Technologies Capital||May 12||machine learning on a chip|
|SOS Labs Co.||8||Series A+||Korea Development Bank||May 20||lidar sensors|
|Stereotaxis||15||stock sale||May 26||surgical robots|
|SVT Robotics LLC||3.5||seed||Cowboy Ventures||May 5||integration platform as a service|
|Syrius Robotics||10||Series A+||Sequoia Capital China||May 13||mobile robots|
|Waymo||750||investment||T. Rowe Price Associates, Perry Creek Capital, Fidelity Management and Research Co.||May 12||autonomous vehicles|
|Xwing||10||Series A||R7 Partners||May 20||autonomous drones|
|Zhejiang Damon Technology Co.||69||IPO||May 22||industrial automation|
There was only one merger or acquisition in May 2020: Brown Machine Group acquired Knoxville, Tenn.-based industrial automation firm aXatronics Co. for an undisclosed amount. In comparison, there were two acquisitions in April 2020, and six worth at least $5.1 billion a year ago.
Waymo, Didi Chuxing, and Tesla raise more funding
The largest single transaction of May 2020 was Waymo LLC’s fundraising of $750 million, led by T. Rowe Price Associates. This came in addition to the $2.25 billion the Mountain View, Calif.-based self-driving car company raised in March.