Lightspeed Ventures is the second American venture capitalist to invest millions in the Munich-based robotics startup Robco. The industry is booming.

Robco's management team around the founders Paul Maroldt, Roman Hölzl and Constantin Dresel (front from left)

After Sequoia Capital, the next American VC fund is now investing in the Munich-based robotics startup Robco. The company is raising 39 million euros as part of a Series B financing round. Overall, the investment volume increases to 55 million euros. The round is led by the American venture capitalist Lightspeed Ventures, based in Silicon Valley.

The startup wasn't even looking for fresh capital, says founder and CEO Roman Hölzl. With the 13 million euros that Robco only received at the end of 2022, the company was well positioned – which is why he didn't even develop a current pitch deck. Hölzl took the money anyway. Because “we have a long partnership” with the Lightspeed team, even if this has never been formalized, says Hölzl.

Also involved in Robco are Frank Thelen through his VC fund Freigeist, as well as Wunderlist founder Christian Reber and Helsing founder Torsten Reil.

Read too

This is how the Dresden robot startup Wandelbots wants to achieve the pivot

“We solve your skills shortage.“

Robco develops automation solutions for medium-sized industrial companies. With these, machines can be reprogrammed and used quickly and flexibly for various tasks, advertises Hölzl. Such as palletizing or loading and unloading machines. To capture use cases, the startup relies, among other things, on laser sensors, which Apple also uses in its iPhones. The automation solutions should no longer require complex programming and trained specialist personnel.

There should be enough potential customers – not just in Germany. According to a study by McKinsey, industrial companies worldwide will invest a quarter of their investments in automated systems in the coming years. However, Robcon only focuses on customers in the Western world. China is not currently a focus and should not be in the future because the market there is “structured differently,” explains Hölzl.

Robots should become more intelligent through AI

The fresh capital will be used to further develop the Robco software with the help of artificial intelligence (AI). In the future, the robots will be able to “independently detect and analyze their environment and plan and execute actions,” explains Roman Hölzl. To achieve this, Robco wants to “roughly double” the number of its employees this year. The startup currently employs 52 people across Germany, most of them in Munich. According to the founder & CEO, “the money should be enough for the next three years.”

In addition to Hölzl, Robco is co-founders Constantin Dresel and Paul Maroldt. The three engineers studied at the Technical University of Munich. According to the company's own statements, the basis for its founding in 2020 was research results from more than seven years at the Chair of Robotics and Artificial Intelligence. Parallel to his master's degree, Roman Hölzl was part of the Center for Digital Technology and Management (CDTM). The program supports students in putting their ideas into practice. Other German startups such as Personio, Trade Republic and Forto have also emerged from the program.

Read too

Endless unicorns: What makes Munich universities so successful?

German robotics startups are in demand internationally

International investors seem to have taken a shine to German startups for robotics solutions. Wandelbots, a spin-off from TU Dresden, has convinced Insight Partners with its 2022 business model. The American VC InterAlpen, whose founder has also invested in Tesla, SpaceX and Twitter, invested in the robotics startup Neura from Baden-Württemberg at the end of 2023. Through the Series C financing round led by Softbank, the Munich startup Agile Robotics became the first German robot unicorn in 2021


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *