Invert Robotics, a leader in inspection robotics, today announced it has closed an US$8.8 million round of financing led by Finistere Ventures, an agtech/foodtech venture pioneer, with support from Yamaha Motor Ventures & Laboratory Silicon Valley (YMVSV), the corporate venture capital business of Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd. Existing investors such as Allan Moss, Inception Asset Management and the New Zealand Venture Investment Fund also participated.
Using the strategic investment to scale its team, open a U.S. office and expand its technology platform and industry-specific solutions, Invert Robotics aims to increase the global footprint of its climbing robot – the first specifically designed to inspect the integrity and safety of non-magnetic, hazardous environments.
"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,” said 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 and maintenance easier and more effective to avoid life-threatening situations for their workers, their communities and their consumers.”
Workers charged with inspecting and maintaining the high and confined spaces common in many industries frequently suffer deadly accidents on the job, but increased pressure from health and safety regulators and substantial fines are motivating companies to act. Invert Robotics offers precise, remote inspection of non-magnetic surfaces such as stainless steel, carbon fiber, aluminum and glass. Already used by some of the world’s largest food and beverage, dairy, aviation, pharmaceutical, oil and gas, and chemical companies, Invert Robotics will further expand its reach and open new international markets.
“Our climbing robots go where other robots cannot and people should not,” stated 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 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, optimize maintenance and avoid future tragedies.”
The Invert Robotics 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, its 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,” added 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 capitalization, positions Invert Robotics for success in its global market expansion.”
Headquartered in New Zealand with offices throughout Europe, Invert Robotics 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.
“New Zealand has become a hotbed for groundbreaking companies,” noted Dean Tilyard, CEO of The Factory and Finistere Venture Partner for the Oceania region. “Innovators like Invert Robotics need to find connected capital with strong international networks to help them scale globally. With extensive networks throughout the agricultural, food, chemical and electronics industries, Finistere and Yamaha are ideal investment partners for Invert to realize its full potential.”
To support its international expansion and product development plans, The Factory’s Tilyard will join the Invert Robotics Board. Adding both industry-specific and technology expertise, Finistere’s Kukutai and Yamaha’s Boshier will also join as Observers.
“Finistere and Yamaha have already demonstrated an incredible amount of knowledge and passion, and we look forward to tapping their deep technical and global support infrastructures to help us continue to scale the company,” concluded Fletcher.