Chinese robotics company UBTECH gets $820 million in funding

Shenzhen-based home robotics company UBTECH announced this week that it has closed a massive $820 million Series C. The round, led by Tencent and a whole slew of other investors, follows a $100 million Series B and $20 million Series C.

The bipedal robotics maker certainly isn’t a household name here in the States — though the company’s taken a few baby steps over here, including a walking Stormtrooper robot released alongside The Last Jedi. It also debuted a “robotic butler” with a tablet face back at CES in January that seemed more proof of concept than shipping product — though UBTECH has promised a broad 2019 release date.

CEO James Zhou has promised the company will use this huge backing to accelerate its vision of bringing robots into the home.

“As technology evolves to include more voice and touch capabilities, people need new devices that communicate and interact more naturally and intuitively at home, at school and at work,” he said in a release tied to the announcement. “While trends in robots and robotics are developing, no company has yet stepped forward with the resources, vision and products ecosystem to transform robot fantasy and fiction into robot reality. UBTECH is bringing this reality to life by expanding the possibilities for innovation.”

The company says the funding will go into R&D, hires and expanding its global footprint. UBTECH is one of a number of companies pushing home robotics beyond the Roomba, including a rumored upcoming device from Amazon. The technology has been a tough nut to crack in the preceding decades, but an $820 million investment certainly couldn’t hurt. 

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