Last week, one of Boston’s leaders in the robotics sector, Rethink Robotics, confirmed that it had raised $11.5 million in funding from New York-based Two Sigma Ventures. Today, the company announced an exclusive partnership with Nihon Binary, a top robotics distributer and supplier that will bring Rethink Robotics’ human-esque robot to Japan.
Rethink Robotics was founded in 2008 by Rodney Brooks, the current CTO and former co-founder of i-Robot, and Scott Eckert, the company’s current CEO. Their main offering is an easily trainable, bright red robot by the name of Baxter. The robot was originally designed with the intent of easing factory floor processes within “under-robotted” manufacturing businesses. Baxter’s abilities to withstand regular night shifts and be quickly trained by manufacturing workers allows for small- to medium-sized companies not only pay off the robot’s $22,000 pricetag, but also start seeing returns on investment, within a year’s time, according to Eckert.
Rethink Robotics is already sourcing Baxters to manufacturers within the U.S. and Europe. This partnership with Nihon Binary is the first for the company, and will presumably act as its gateway to the Asian market.
“Researchers across the globe are continuing to turn to robotics as a critical source for innovation and a means to solve real-world challenges faced by people and organizations in a variety of industries. Having researchers in the U.S., Europe and Japan use the Baxter Research Robot to carry out industry-critical research means that the platform’s success increases, while helping researchers internationally develop an exciting new generation of products and applications with our technology,” said Eckert in the release. “Rethink Robotics will continue its efforts to encourage such cooperation through its partnership with Nihon Binary, a company that has introduced new technologies and products in both the academic and corporate research markets in Japan for nearly 35 years.”
The robotics company has raised $62 million in total financing from Sigma Partners, Charles River Ventures, Highland Capital Partners, Draper Fisher Jurvetson and the personal investment fund of Amazon tycoon Jeff Bezos.