InOrbit, a provider of cloud-based robot management software, announces that it has closed $2.6 million in seed round funding. The funding was led by ANIMO Ventures, with participation by Yamaha Motor Ventures Silicon Valley, Kärcher New Venture and other key institutional and individual investors.
InOrbit is a cloud based solution that provides secure, real-time analytics and data collection, robot performance monitoring, incident management and remote interventions. They are one of the first companies to enter the emerging “Robotics Operations” (RobOps) market segment. The company positions itself as a cloud company operating on robotic automation data.
“We see a great deal of value in the robotics platform InOrbit has developed that improves the performance and expands the functionality of robotic fleets, and can positively impact the delivery of critical products and services across several sectors,” said Anish Patel, partner and mobility group lead for Yamaha Motor Ventures and Laboratory Silicon Valley. Patel said his group focuses its investments on innovative technology and teams working to solve global issues in the delivery of health, food, mobility, life sciences and other essential functions.
RobOps Unifies Multi-Vendor Fleet Operations
At its core, RobOps is about providing a unified console across all of your robotic solutions. This means optimizing robot fleet utilization to meet SLAs and also monitor and resolve problems in real time.
InOrbit defines the Four O’s of RobOps as:
RobOps is Key to Robots as a Service
Any robot company developing a Robots as a Service (RaaS) solution will need to develop the remote operations monitoring and control software to manage their deployed fleet of robots. InOrbit has developed a complete software solution for this need.
The InOrbit solution includes capabilities such as:
- Real-time analytics
- Incident Management
- Remote interventions
Bossa Nova has been working with InOrbit to monitor its shelf-scanning robots in hundreds of retail stores across the U.S. “InOrbit’s platform has helped us meet and exceed the expectations of our customers,” said Sarjoun Skaff, co-founder and CTO of Bossa Nova. “We value this partnership as we take another step towards achieving our mission of powering the transformation of retail.”
Orchestration is core to Multi-Vendor Use Cases
In addition to the needs of RaaS providers, orchestration is the answer for any company who has deployed solutions from multiple vendors within their facility. The key concept behind RobOps is to abstract the interaction and unify the analytics, reporting and dashboards.
InOrbit can interface to almost every existing robotic solution and enable the client customer to unify all of the fleet management functions into a single “pane of glass”.
In talking to InOrbit CEO Florian Pestoni for this story, we learned a bit more detail about the solution. Pestoni said, “The InOrbit solution is currently deployed at a large retailer who has inventory management robots from Bossa Nova and cleaning robots from another vendor. The InOrbit solution unifies the management of all of the running robots under one solution. This results in a much better experience for the store management team.”
InOrbit is seeing pockets of adoption, with the heaviest adoption by customers who’ve deployed autonomous mobile robotic (AMR) solutions from multiple vendors. The use cases include retail stores, warehouses and hotels, and AMR solutions from Bossa Nova and Savioke.
“What’s exciting to me is that all of these things can be controlled by software, orchestrated through software”, said Pestoni, “We’re an abstraction layer, that you can manage all of the robots together. In DevOps the fundamental concept is to reduce waste. RobOps is similar, to reduce redundancy in fleet management tools”
Plans for the Future
Pestoni said, “This funding round is critical for us, it gives us the jet fuel to power into the new phase of AMR adoption”
The company plans to use the seed funding to extend their product roadmap by bringing new engineering and product management talent onboard. The company is a distributed team, currently at 15 people, and accustomed to hiring the best talent wherever they are.
“Our goal is to support 1 million robots that positively impact the lives of 1 billion people,” said Florian Pestoni, CEO/co-founder at InOrbit. “We want to put every robot in orbit around the cloud, combining robots’ ability to handle repetitive tasks with AI in the cloud to orchestrate and humans in the loop to provide direction.”
The company also plans to invest in additional marketing and business development in its vision to work with new robot companies and become the supplier of choice for their remote operational tools.
InOrbit also started the Robot Operations Working Group (ROWG) last year as a cross industry effort with representation across industry. The mission of ROWG is to build the industry best practices and educate companies about how unified operations can benefit the industry as a whole.