Expect to see more service robots in hotels, hospitals, and commercial real estate properties soon. Savioke Inc. today announced that it has raised $10 million in Series A funding and rebranded itself as Relay Robotics Inc.
The Campbell, Calif.-based company also appointed veteran technology executive Michael O'Donnell as chairman and CEO. Steve Cousins, co-founder of Savioke, will become chief technology officer of Relay Robotics and lead its product strategy and innovation efforts.
“Our collective experience and expertise in AI, autonomous vehicles, and building the Relay software technology platform is paying huge dividends in driving use cases and the reliability of our robots,” stated Cousins. “We continue to expand the capabilities of Relay robots, enabling them to be quickly deployed to help people in service industries.”
Relay Robotics said it supplies autonomous mobile robots that work with humans safely, securely, reliably, and contact-free. Founded in 2013, the former Savioke holds 10 U.S. patents. The company said its service robots have completed more than 1 million deliveries worldwide.
Relay robots customizable
Relay said its Rapid-Install product trains and activates a robot within hours of arrival at a location. Each customer can name it robot and create a customized “wrap” to give it a unique character and harmonize it with their brand.
The company's original Relay service robot, which serves the hospitality, healthcare, and commercial real estate markets, was recently joined by Relay+. That robot is designed for more flexibile configurations.
Relay+ includes a larger-capacity top bin, a four-drawer model, and independent elevator operations, said Relay.
Hospitality expected to make a robust recovery
As the COVID-19 pandemic finally abates, Relay Robotics said it expects the markets it serves to make a robust recovery.
The Business Research Co. said it expects the global hospitality market to grow from $3.9 trillion in 2021 to $4.5 trillion in 2022 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15.1%. The research firm predicted that it will reach $6.7 trillion by 2026 at a CAGR of 10.2%.
Major U.S. hotel chains such as Marriott, Hilton, Westin, Mandarin Oriental, Holiday Inn, and Radisson have deployed Relay's systems, as have nationally recognized hospitals such as Georgetown and Dartmouth.
“Our ownership’s crystal ball saw, before most hotel operators, what service robot technology could add from a marketing and operations perspective,” says Bob Combie, senior vice president of technology at Seaview Investors, a leading hotel operator. “The Relay robots are integrated into our daily guest experience, and we use them at all eight of our hotels.”
Investors, new CEO expect rapid growth
“There is a multibillion-dollar market for service robots, and Relay Robotics has the team, technology, and real-world experience in applying service robots to solve business problems,” noted Mark Koulogeorge, managing partner at MK Capital, which led Relay's Series A round. “Michael will lead Relay on an aggressive growth path as we partner with customers to develop more innovative uses of service robots to enhance the customer experience and improve operating efficiency.”
O'Donnell added: “I’m excited to join Steve and the incredibly talented team at Relay Robotics to address this huge market opportunity for autonomous robots that help businesses serve their customers, patients, and employees.”
Michael O'Donnell, CEO, Relay Robotics
“The market is quickly embracing these AI and autonomous technologies to address the worldwide labor shortage and meet their clients’ needs,” he said. “Relay Robotics has the intellectual property, a product line of working robots making deliveries across hospitality, healthcare, and offices, and a pipeline of marquee customers.”
O’Donnell is a 25-year veteran of the consumer technology industry with a track record of growth and success at early-stage technology companies. Prior to Relay Robotics, he was CEO of HealthiNation, a digital healthcare media company that he and his team grew over 280% and was acquired by GoodRx in April 2021.
Before HealthiNation, O’Donnell was CEO of four successful venture capital-backed technology companies. They included Playcast, an Israel-based videogame streaming company acquired by GameFly Inc. in 2015; Skytide, a video analytics company acquired by Citrix Systems Inc. in 2013; Five Across, a social media platform company acquired by Cisco Systems Inc. in 2007; and Salon Media Group, which had its IPO in 2001.
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