Youai Zhihe Robot, or Youibot, today announced that it has received financing of RMB 100 million ($15.5 million U.S.). The Shenzhen, China-based company was founded in 2017 and provides mobile robots, software, and services for indoor and outdoor applications.
In addition to research and development for its robots, Youibot said it focuses on supporting customer's actual needs with its automation. Autonomous systems are only part of what industry needs, it said. The company's robots are used for materials handling, inspection, and disinfection.
“It's just the first step of factory upgrading and transformation to realize unmanned operation via mobile robots,” stated Cody Zhang, CEO of Youibot. “What's more important is to deeply integrate mobile robots into business management via industrial service software, assisting in resource optimization and decision-making.”
“The model of mobile robots plus industrial service software has more value and service space and can better adapt to customer needs,” he said. “This is the optimal form of development of mobile robots in future.”
Youibot software coordinates physical flow
Youibot claimed that it was one of the first autonomous mobile robot (AMR) businesses to develop orchestration software. It said its YOUI TMS Smart Logistics System for manufacturing can improve the physical flow of robots between processes, according to the company.
The system can also perform independent scheduling for overall logistics according to enterprise information systems such as enterprise resource planning (ERP), warehouse management systems (WMS), and manufacturing execution systems (MES).
In addition, Youibot said its software can complete coverage of logistics data, from the material preparation warehouse to the production line and then to the finished product warehouse. The company said its “botttom-to-end scenario, full-cycle, closed-loop solution” can benefit precision manufacturing and energy vertical markets.
“Only by going deep into scenarios can we bring outbursts of innovation and sustained vitality,” said Zhang. He cited the markets of semiconductor manufacturing, intelligent inspection, operation and maintenance, and power.
Youibot said it has listened to customers to help solve their real-world problems and helped them achieve their goals of cost reduction, efficiency, flexible production, and digital management.
Youibot's customers include major brands including Michelin, CRRC Zhuzhou, Huawei, FASTRE, ASM, and Huaneng Group. In addition, Youibot has established a channel sales network with more than 60 countries such as Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Spain, and Germany.
SoftBank leads round
SoftBank Ventures Asia led the latest investment round in Youibot. Founded in 2000, SoftBank Ventures Asia is the global early-stage venture arm of SoftBank Group. The firm invests in technology, media, and telecommunications (TMT), including artificial intelligence, semiconductors, software, and consumer brands.
SoftBank Ventures Asia has invested in more than 250 companies in 10 countries and regions and has offices in Seoul, San Francisco, Tel Aviv, Beijing, Singapore, and elsewhere.
Youibot attracted investor attention because of its “closed-loop solution from hardware products to service software,” its strong technical support, and its ability to quickly capture part of the increasingly competitive AMR market, said Ding Haipeng, a partner at SoftBank Ventures Asia.
SIG and BlueRun also participated in Youibot's funding round
“The transformation and upgrading of traditional industries are accelerating, and the application of pan-industrial automation is facing unprecedented market opportunities,” said Cao Wei, managing director of BlueRun. “As a leader in mobile robots, Youibot has gone deep into vertical scenarios to create a closed-loop service for customers.”
“As a foundation for opening up future industry and automation of maintenance scenarios, mobile robots will have greater value and growth space in the business management process empowerment,” said Guo Lu, a partner at SIG. “Youibot has continuously deepened its application in various fields and has entered a stage of rapid development. We have confidence in the development of Youibot and look forward to creating value for more customers.”
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