Today, Boulder-based robotics company Canvas Technology announced the close of a $15 million Series A funding. The round was led by Playground Global, which invests largely in robotics, IoT technology and software-defined hardware. Previous investors such as Xplorer Capital, AME Cloud Ventures and Morado Ventures also participated in the round.
The investment will largely go toward ramping up the production and distribution of the startup’s self-driving carts, enabling it to further grow and scale the business. Currently, all production is handled in-house by Canvas’ 30-person team. VP of marketing Sandra McQueen said that while this approach helps the team “stay really close to the product,” the ever-growing list of customers waiting for carts of their own speaks for itself.
“With this funding we’re looking at how to move faster and how to really scale up production,” McQueen said. “We see a lot of demand for the cart and we need to be able to meet that demand from a manufacturing and operations standpoint.”
In the year ahead, the company will also focus on the development of its autonomy platform, which can be adapted and used to power all types of autonomous vehicles. To support the continued evolution of its technology, Canvas is hiring aggressively and planning to grow to about 50 employees within the next year or two.
The company revealed the Canvas Autonomous Cart back in August, ending years of speculation around the technology being built in its labs. The carts enable the end-to-end autonomous transport of goods, used primarily in manufacturing facilities, warehouses and construction sites.
We think [Canvas' robot operating system] will not only bring enormous gains to the manufacturing and logistics sectors but to many other industries that need a turn-key autonomous technology solution."
Beyond the carts are Canvas’ cutting-edge proprietary sensors and software that provide the carts with real-time 3-D maps of the space and the ability to navigate unstructured environments on its own.
The innovative nature of Canvas’ technology hasn’t gone unnoticed by investors.
“The Canvas team has created a powerful, vertically integrated robot operating system, with perception and speed that rivals anything we’ve seen,” said Andy Rubin, co-founder of Playground Global, in a statement. “We think it will not only bring enormous gains to the manufacturing and logistics sectors but to many other industries that need a turn-key autonomous technology solution.”
After months of hard work, the Canvas Technology team celebrated its accomplishments with an office holiday bash. Last week, they gathered the entire team and their families to blow off some steam and have some fun. But even as the team catches its breath, more hard work lies ahead.
“If anything, a $15 million round of funding really ratchets up the pressure,” McQueen said. “We’ve been working hard, and we have to keep that pace going.”