Intuition Robotics Gets $25M in New Funding After Commercial Launch of ElliQ Social Companion

Intuition Robotics will continue developing ElliQ’s relationship and conversational capabilities through integration with generative AI and large language models.

Intuition Robotics

ElliQ is designed to use the latest AI advances to engage older adults so they can stay healthy and "age in place."
Intuition Robotics plans to use its latest funding to support growth, further develop ElliQ's capabilities with AI, and help meet the demand to alleviate loneliness.

The U.S. Surgeon General recently said that loneliness can be as harmful to health as smoking 15 cigarettes per day. As healthcare providers and governments seek remedies, Intuition Robotics has developed the ElliQ companion, which uses artficial intelligence to engage with older adults. The company today announced that it has secured $25 million in the first closing of its latest funding round.

“We’ve seen the direct impact that loneliness has had on our aging community, but we’ve also seen the positive results our AI and technology have on the older adult population,” stated Dor Skuler, co-founder and CEO of Intuition Robotics. “Beyond the groundbreaking results in reducing loneliness—ElliQ is also seeing an impact on health, wellness, and behavior change.”

Founded in 2016, Intuition Robotics said it designed ElliQ to proactively help keep users healthy, engaged, and informed, while alleviating the effects of social isolation. The Ramat Gan, Israel-based company has been recognized for its work with ElliQ, including with Fast Company’s “Most Innovative Companies” and the CES “Best of Innovation” awards.

ElliQ addresses loneliness epidemic

In addition to the U.S. Surgeon General's warning about the loneliness “epidemic,” Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) recently introduced legislation to create a national policy to promote social connection.

Intuition Robotics said its AI companion is designed to enhance the lives of older adults and promote healthy and independent living. ElliQ has demonstrated its ability to engage users over time and benefit the lives of older individuals with its proactive suggestions and conversational capabilities, it said.

The social robot can provides support for older adults through daily health check-ins, cognitive and physical activities, connection to family and friends, and more using a simple and intuitive interface, according to the company.

Intuition Robotics has recently worked with government agencies to distribute ElliQ at no cost to users across the U.S. It has initiated programs with the New York State Office for the Aging, the Area Agency on Aging of Broward County, the Olympic Area Agency on Aging, and California’s Agency on Aging in Area 4.

In the state of New York, users have interacted with ElliQ more than 30 times per day on average. In addition, the company signed its first agreement with a managed care organization focusing on Medicare beneficiaries.

“We’re proud of our increasing number of state and county partnerships and have already seen incredible results and heard heartwarming feedback from users in the programs,” Skuler told Robotics 24/7. “We just renewed our program with the New York State Office for the Aging for a second year, proving reduction of loneliness for 95% of users, and we’re working towards more U.S. government and aging agency partnerships this year.”

Toyota, others continue to invest in Intuition Robotics

Intuition Robotics' latest financing includes $20 million in venture capital and $5 million in venture debt. Woven Capital, the growth fund of Toyota, led the funding, with participation from Toyota Ventures, OurCrowd, Western Technology Investment, and additional investors.

Past investors also include Samsung NEXT, iRobot, and Terra Ventures.

“Intuition Robotics is advancing the future of mobility for aging populations by offering human connection and access to goods and services that they couldn’t obtain otherwise,” said Nicole LeBlanc, a partner at Woven Capital who is also joining the company’s board of directors. “The company is leading the way by providing a field-proven solution that delivers strong results, improving social infrastructure and serving overlooked markets in unique, thoughtful, and powerful ways.”

“Since we first invested in Intuition Robotics in 2017, we’ve been inspired by the team's mission to empower older adults using AI,” observed Jim Adler, founder and general partner of Toyota Ventures. “It’s exciting to see the progress they’ve made over the years – from ElliQ’s initial development and testing, to the commercial deployment and now a growing number of partnerships.”

“Woven Capital has a goal to discover and develop groundbreaking technologies that will help people all over the world lead happier, healthier, richer lives, which perfectly aligns with what we’re doing with ElliQ,” said Skuler. “They understand that there are various public health benefits to having an AI-driven care companion to help older adults combat loneliness in the U.S. and later on in Japan, with Toyota’s help.”

In 2019, Intuition Robotics and the Toyota Research Institute (TRI) agreed to work on an in-vehicle AI agent. The ongoing investment could lead to more collaboration, acknowledged Skuler.

“We’re looking forward to adding their insights and perspective to our overall strategy and how else we can use ElliQ to improve the mobility of people,” he told Robotics 24/7.

Funding growth to meet demand

Intuition Robotics said it plans to use its latest funding to scale up to meet demand and help aging populations access its products and services at reasonable costs.

“The round of funding will help us capitalize on the hundreds of government and healthcare organizations we have in the pipeline and increase our go-to-market activities, including the hiring of sales and channel management organizations,” said Skuler. “We will also use this round to increase manufacturing and the number of ElliQ devices we have in the field.”

“We’ve seen a surge in demand between government aging agencies, healthcare organizations, and other groups that are turning to AI care companions to help with the increasing number of older adults in the U.S.,” he said.

More integration with AI to come

Intuition Robotics said recent advances in generative AI, transformers, and large language models (LLMs) have improved ElliQ's conversational abilities.

“We’ve used the latest advancements in generative AI to integrate rich and continuous conversational experiences into ElliQ, thereby allowing for even deeper relationships to evolve between ElliQ and the user,” Skuler said. “This can be experienced in various conversations with ElliQ such as when requesting recipes and needing to update the recipe based on the user’s preferences and ingredients, extending scripted conversation, and generating proactive conversation about the user’s likes, hobbies, etc.”

The company has developed technology that chooses where to integrate multiple LLMs into experiences such as ElliQ encouraging users to create images with DALL-E 2. This is done with guardrails and algorithmic control on the integrity of the experience, explained Intuition Robotics.

“The 'painting with ElliQ' feature uses the Dall-E integration to turn spoken descriptions by users into paintings,” Skuler told Robotics 24/7. “We also developed an art exhibition for these user-generated masterpieces so that once users give permission to share their art, they can be seen by other ElliQ users.”

Meet Tamie, who is supporting elder clients in a rural community with ElliQ.

About the Author

Eugene Demaitre's avatar
Eugene Demaitre
Eugene Demaitre was editorial director of Robotics 24/7. Prior to joining Peerless Media, he was a senior editor at Robotics Business Review and The Robot Report. Demaitre has also worked for BNA (now part of Bloomberg), Computerworld, and TechTarget. He has participated in numerous robotics-related webinars, podcasts, and events worldwide.
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Intuition Robotics

ElliQ is designed to use the latest AI advances to engage older adults so they can stay healthy and "age in place."

Robot Technologies