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SoftBank Backs Japanese Robotics Startup Telexistence in $170M Round

Illustration of a robot holding a gold coin.

Japanese robotics firm Telexistence raised a $170 million Series B, which included a commitment from new investor SoftBank Group.

The deal comes just weeks after SoftBank founder Masayoshi Son told investors the firm will shift from “defense mode” back to “offense mode” and is looking at being the leader in the AI revolution.

“Now, the time has come to shift to offense mode,” Son said.

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The new deal seems to fit into that AI thesis, as Telexistence creates AI-powered robotic arms for the retail and warehousing sectors. The company has deployed its robots in 300 FamilyMart convenience stores in Japan.

Aside from SoftBank, other investors in the round include previous investors Monoful Venture Partners, KDDI Open Innovation Fund and Airbus Ventures, and new investors HH-CTBC Partnership (Foxconn Co-GP Fund), and Globis Capital Partners.

The deal also includes a strategic business partnership agreement with SoftBank Robotic Group, a subsidiary of SoftBank, for commercialization in North America.

Founded in 2017, the company has now raised nearly $200 million, per Crunchbase.

Robotics funding

Funding in robotics has slumped after having a breakout in 2021, according to Crunchbase data.

In 2021, robotic startups globally raised about $17 billion total. However, that number fell to only $9.6 billion last year and thus far only $3.6 billion in 2023.

Whether this latest round will bring any heat to the sector is impossible to say, but it is clear Telexistence plans to quickly scale up.

“With this latest funding, we aim to amplify our search for top, diverse talent to enhance our global capabilities at scale,” said CEO Jin Tomioka in a release.

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Robotics Funding

Illustration: Dom Guzman

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