Softbank is betting on China’s emerging industrial robotics space. Youibot, a four-year-old startup that makes autonomous mobile robots for a variety of conditions, said it reached close to 100 million yuan ($15.47 million) in the latest fund round led by Soul-Bank Ventures Asia, global investment platform. In December, Softbank Ventures Asia led a financing round for another Chinese robotics startup called Cane On, which focuses on distribution and service robots.
Previous investors in Youibot’s, Blue Rune Ventures and CIGO, participated in this round. The Shenzhen-based startup where it went through SOSV’s HAX hardware accelerator program achieved three rounds of financing by 2020 as businesses and investors embraced industrial automation to reduce human connectivity. Youibot has collected 200 million yuan to date. Founded by a team of PhDs from the prestigious Xi’an Jiaotong University in China, Youibot develops solutions for factory automation, logistics management, as well as inspection and maintenance for various industries.
For example, its robots can move around the bus yard, inspect each tire of the vehicle, and provide a detailed report on maintenance, a feature that helped it comply with Michelin’s contract. Youibot’s “powerful suits” include electronics manufacturing and electrical power patrols, a company spokesman told TechCrunch.
The startup is also seeing high growth in its semiconductor business, with customers coming from a number of prominent front-end wafer fabs that use the firm’s robots for chip packaging, testing and wafer production. Youibot declined to reveal their names due to privacy concerns. Its named Chinese clients include CRRC Zhuzhou, a state-owned locomotive manufacturer, Huang Group, a state-owned power giant Huawei and many more.
China currently accounts for 80% of Youibot’s total revenue, while overseas markets are growing rapidly. The firm’s revenue has tripled since 2020 last year. Youibot plans to spend new money on research and development of its mobile robot and proprietary software, team building and market expansion. Youibot plans to spend new money on research and development of its mobile robot and proprietary software, team building and market expansion.