ANYbotics raises $50 million to help deploy its robot dog

ANYbotics this week announced a $50 million Series B. The round, led by Walden Catalyst and NGP Capital, comes as the firm is pushing to deploy its ruggedized four-legged robot, ANYmal X. That follows a $22 million round raised in December 2020. The startup says it’s already clocked $150 million in preorders/reservations from gas/oil and chemical companies. PETRONAS, Shell, SLB, Outokumpu, Siemens Energy, BASF and Vale have already signed up.

"This funding validates our unique approach to addressing fundamental challenges of operating complex industrial facilities,” co-founder and CEO Dr. Péter Fankhauser says in a release. “Our legged robots have already proven their value in increasing productivity and safety. With this investment, we will expand internationally and accelerate the development of our robots’ AI capabilities such as manipulation for maintenance work to revolutionize automated industrial operations."

ANYmal has a similar market fit as Boston Dynamics’ Spot robot. As evidenced by the preorders, it launched with a very specific industry in mind, filling job openings and patrolling processing plants for worker safety and environmental impact concerns.

These sorts of jobs are notoriously difficult to fill -- and maintain -- due to the variety of different risks they pose to human workers. ANYmal promises to augment some of those human roles, while making its existing co-workers more safe.

“This unique technology allows robots to be easily deployable in complex industrial environments, making it an efficient solution for inspection applications in environments that are dangerous for human beings," says Walden Catalyst's Young Sohn. "Moving forward, we see a significant opportunity to leverage the company’s robust mobility platform and locomotion software stack to enable new use cases and expand their addressable market beyond robotic inspection.”

ANYbotics has already been piloting the system with various early adopters. In addition to its tough day job, ANYmal has been used in a variety of research facilities, including ETH Zurich and the University of Oxford. The Swiss company was spun off from ETH Zurich in 2016, based on years of development on quadrupedal robotic systems.