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Robotics: a number of Chinese firms raised capital

Before we delve into this week’s most significant robotics-related news, we have an announcement to highlight.

Our very first Hardware Stage at TechCrunch Disrupt 2023 will feature a number of robotics industry professionals. The stage will debut on the third day of Disrupt, September 21, and will feature presenters from Alphabet’s Intrinsic, Open Robotics, Agility Robotics, and Farm-ng, among others.

You can keep track of future updates and Brian Heater’s continued coverage of the space by subscribing to the Actuator newsletter right here. Brian Heater, a resident robotics expert, will be in charge of the Hardware Stage.

Now that the self-promotion is out of the way, let’s proceed.

Cooking automation manufacturer Botinkit raises $13 million.

Consistency and efficiency are two characteristics that lend themselves well to automation in chain establishments. Botinkit, a Shenzhen-based startup, has exported its cooking machines to Japan and the United States and will use the $13 million it raised in a Series A round to expand to Europe and the Middle East.

In addition to reducing food waste and energy consumption during the culinary process, Botinkit sees another benefit for its robots.

“In the past, time and geographical boundaries limited cuisine. However, the digitization of cooking has created a variety of new opportunities, including remote cooking.

If I’m in Shenzhen and you’re in the United States, I can remotely ‘cook’ for you using our software and hardware system,” co-founder Shirley Chen told TechCrunch earlier this week.

SoftBank invests in the shipments of Rice Robotics.

Workers at SoftBank’s new Tokyo headquarters have been transporting 7-Eleven orders between stores and drop-off points using delivery robots with large, endearing eyes. The anthropomorphic couriers, manufactured by Hong Kong-based Rice Robotics, have a 12-hour battery life and require only one hour to recharge between onigiri and UCC coffee deliveries.

Read also: You’ll Soon Need a Visa to Enter Europe

SoftBank announced this week that it would contribute to Rice’s $7 million pre-Series A funding round, which will be used to continue the company’s expansion in Japan, its primary revenue source.

ForwardX’s robotics fundraising efforts reached $140 million.

Warehouse logistics and inventory management have been covered in previous editions, and for good reason: it’s a massive industry replete with robotics and automation opportunities. Since its 2016 launch, Beijing-based ForwardX has amassed a significant quantity of investment capital.

The company, which has already delivered 3,000 robots to clients such as IKEA, UNIQLO, Walmart, and Mitsubishi, has just announced a $30 million fundraising, bringing its Series C funding to $61 million and its total funding to $140 million.

Women in Robotics inaugurates a scholarship in Joanne Pransky’s honor.

Joanne Pransky, who recently passed away after decades of work in the robotics industry, left an indelible impact on the field through her efforts to promote an appreciation for the human side of our relationships with robots.

Read also:The Resignation of OpenAI’s chief of Trust and Safety Dave Willner

The nonprofit Women in Robotics hopes to commemorate her legacy by awarding a scholarship in her name to the next generation of women and non-binary students. Anyone can contribute to the fund via Bold.org right now.

“As a pioneer in the field of social robotics and the sales and marketing of robots and robotics journals, Joanne was very often the only woman in the room,” Women in Robotics president Andra Keay told TechCrunch.

And with the assistance of the Joanne Pransky Celebration of Women in Robotics scholarship, this will no longer be a problem.

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