BEIJING, Oct. 19, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Vincross, a robotics startup company, has raised $6 million in its Series A funding. The round was led by GGV Capital, and also included investment from ZhenFund, the robotics company's angel investor. The latest funding will be used for recruitment and ramping up its R&D.
"Consumer and industrial robotics are among GGV Capital's major focus on the landscape of new technology, besides drone and electric transportation," said GGV Capital managing partner Jenny Lee, "We are excited to see the many innovations from Vincross. The startup has a concise team. They are young but creative and experienced at robotics. Each one of them is an all-sided talent and also a complementation to each other. The team has its unique understanding and solution of the essential robotic dynamical system (servo), real-time operating system optimization, sensor system for environmental perception, software algorithm, and product development. We think highly of what they have accumulated in the field and what they can do with their technology."
When some AI companies are too busy building robots with wheels and faces, Vincross takes a totally different approach. The company is about to launch its first product -- all-terrain robot HEXA, and it will be the first robot that can climb stairs in the market. This six-legged robot-spider can walk, climb, and travel across rough terrain, which makes it suitable for scientific expeditions. Vincross also says the robot can be used in firefighting, rescue operations, and even Elon Musk's Mars plan.
Unlike all those robotics companies that make wheeled and motionless products, Vincross believes a robot is not only a body that can interact with the physical world, but also a brain that can learn. Thus, it has created an open ecosystem for HEXA. According to the company, HEXA is a living being and a primary state of an artificial life. The startup is inviting interested developers to build new functions for the hexapod, to fulfill its immense potential. Vincross said developers can create "skills" for HEXA using the SDK, which will be released soon, and sell their works in the company's Skill Store. "We are seeking 2,048 insightful developers to train HEXA. We call them HEXA's human mentors, and they will be the first group of people to adopt this robot. In a way, HEXA's future begins with them," the company's founder and CEO Sun Tianqi said.
The current consumer robotics market is dominated by wheeled and motionless products. As a result, HEXA easily stands out from the crowd with its hexapod structure. The six legs free the robot from any restraint of the outside world and make it move dexterously on rough terrain. With this uniqueness, HEXA can do what others can't, such as scientific exploration, firefighting and rescue operations. And as it is well known, when it comes to legged robotics, Boston Dynamics gains the most spotlight. Its robot dogs and humanoids wowed people with their mobility, but those machines rely heavily on diesel fuel and hydraulics. Such technical features inevitably alien the Alphabet subsidiary from general consumers. Taking that into account, HEXA can precisely fill the void of legged robotics in the consumer market.
Vincross was founded in 2014. As the company's CEO, Tianqi has extensive experience in robotics and artificial intelligence. Before starting Vincross, Tianqi worked as an AI scientist at Tsinghua University, where he researched on neural modeling and neural networks. At the beginning of 2015, Vincross attracted $1 million in angel funding from ZhenFund, which increased its stake in the latest round. Vincross plans to launch a crowdfunding campaign for HEXA and start mass production later this year.
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