Rice Robotics picks up $7M, powers SoftBanks office delivery
- The facility, which spans an area of 13,000 square feet, has quadrupled the company’s annual production capacity from 500 to 2,000 robots.With a starting market price of $9,000, Rice’s robots utilize the popular simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM) technology for navigation.
- In the case of Hong Kong–based Rice Robotics, the important order has come from SoftBank.Since January 2021, Rice’s robots, with their cute, cartoonish blinking eyes, have been delivering 7-Eleven products to SoftBank staff at the company’s new headquarters in Takeshiba, Tokyo.
- The robots can operate continuously for 12 hours and can recharge within one hour.Recognition from SoftBank and other customers has convinced several investors to back Rice’s latest $7 million pre-Series A funding round.
- Furthermore, the Hong Kong government is actively trying to attract advanced manufacturing to diversify an economy that’s losing its appeal as a financial hub for Asia.A portion of Rice’s new funding has been deployed to establish a production plant in Hong Kong.
- Aside from SoftBank, Rice also counts Toyota, Japan Post and Mitsui Group among its Japanese clients.Japan has been a favored destination for China’s robotics companies seeking to expand internationally, given its aging population and openness to new technology.
- The ByteDance-backed warehouse robot maker Syrius Robotics, for example, made a foray into Japan at an early stage.South China is no doubt the home to the world’s leading hardware supply chains.
In the crowded enterprise robotics space, the ability to secure key clients is a crucial differentiator for companies. In the case of Hong Kongbased Rice Robotics, the important order has come from [+3050 chars]