Intuition Robotics isn’t hurting for funding these days. The Israeli firm announced a $36 million Series B in the early days of the pandemic, and now it’s adding another $25 million. The new raise, which includes $20 million in venture capital and $5 million in venture debt, brings its total raise up to $83 million.
The round was led by Toyota’s Woven Capital growth funding, along with participation from Toyota Ventures, OurCrowd and Western Technology Investment. The car maker has taken a special interest in the project, with Toyota AI Ventures participating in the 2020 Series B.
Eldercare robotics have long been an area of interest for the company, as its native Japan grapples with an aging population. Last time out, Intuition announced that it was teaming up with the Toyota Research Institute to deliver tech to the LQ concept vehicle.
Intuition’s primary offering is ElliQ, a desktop home robot designed to serve as a kind of robotic companion for elderly users. We first covered the robot back in early 2017, but it wasn’t officially launched until March of last year. The company has -- understandably -- been targeting partnerships with government agencies and other orgs for its go-to-market.
Big contracts -- if you can get them -- are easier to navigate than the consumer world. That’s double the case somewhere like the U.S. where eldercare robots have thus far failed to make the kind of impact we’ve seen in Japan. Current clients include 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.
Intuition says it has begun leveraging the success of large language models to make the systems more conversational.
“By leveraging these advancements, ElliQ has deepened its conversational abilities, allowing for an even deeper relationship to evolve between ElliQ and the user,” it says in a release. “The company has developed technology that chooses the areas where to integrate multiple LLMs seamlessly into the experiences such as sparking the creativity of the users by painting with ElliQ through the use of DALLE2, augmenting scripted conversations, and achieving deeper contextual understanding. This is done with guardrails and algorithmic control on the integrity of the experience.”
The fresh funding will go toward fulfilling existing partnerships and strengthening the robot’s approach to the market.