Chinese business Syrius Robotics, which creates autonomous robots for warehouses, has just raised $40 million in total capital after securing 50 million yuan ($7.4 million) in a Series B funding round.
In comparison with some of its competitors, the four-year-old company works with autonomous mobile robots (AMR).
AMRs are more sophisticated than AGVs, which follow pre-determined paths and can plan pathways and react to situations in real time.
Think of Syrius’s robots as mini autonomous driving bots that can maneuver narrow warehouse aisles and lift and put away parcels. The company sees itself more as software than a hardware firm, with proprietary algorithms that tell robots how to move indoors.
Its latest round of funding is exclusively backed by Harvest Capital, a Chinese investment firm focused on technologies applied to traditional industries.
Syrius raised capital in dollars — $20 million of it — as part of its Series B back in August, with TikTok parent ByteDance as a lead investor. The startup is also funded by Sequoia Capital China.
China’s warehouse robots have become investors’ darlings in the past two years, during which the COVID-19 pandemic and its control measures have stranded millions of workers. Shenzhen-based Hai Robotics, which makes casing handling robots, announced banking of $200 million in September.
Like many robotics startups from China, Syrius has ventured abroad and derives half of its revenues from overseas markets. In Japan, where robots are addressing the labor shortage issue, it runs a subsidiary and has served trading house giant Mitsubishi Corporation and logistics firm Kantsu Co. The startup also has clients in Singapore and South Korea and is looking to expand operations in Southeast Asia, North America, and Europe.
Syrius appears to have the right founding team for its line of business. Its co-founder and CEO Jiang Chao was a leader of Project Tango, the mobile augmented reality project that Google initiated and later shut down.
The other co-founder Luo Xuan worked on AMRs as a product management director at Alibaba Robotics, which should have given him much insight into the business considerations of Chinese e-commerce companies when it comes to investing in robots.