Constance, Germany-based Fruitcore Robotics, a robotic system that leverages intelligent software and innovative mechatronics, announced that it has raised €17M in its Series A round of funding.
The round was led by an early-stage VC firm UVC Partners along with btov Industrial Technologies Fund, and the private investor network of btov Partners. European technology investor CNB Capital also participated in this round.
The startup has also been accompanied by a business angel, who will continue to support the company.
Affordable premium industrial robot
According to Fruitcore Robotics, the challenges of robot automation include the demanding programming, the resulting high total costs, and the connection of all components involved in the automation process. With its technology, Fruitcore Robotics wants to make a difference.
Jens Riegger, CEO of Fruitcore Robotics explains, “SMEs need flexible systems with which applications can be realised easily and affordably. In addition to the robot, this requires above all easy-to-use software and intelligent interfaces.”
The startup has developed HORST (Highly Optimised Robotic Systems Technology), a robotic system that uses intelligent software and innovative mechatronics, helping it overcome associated hurdles. The software maps the entire application via a digital twin. The company claims that the “powerful and inexpensive” robot transfers the application 1:1 into reality.
With HORST, the deep-tech company claims it has been able to combine the performance of industrial robots with the ease of use of cobots, thereby significantly reducing costs.
HORST can be used across almost all sectors and industries, for loading and unloading machines, for stacking, sorting and packaging products, for handling turned, milled and stamped parts, and also for pick & place applications for small parts.
The startup also provides for simple and intuitive operation of the robots for which no programming knowledge is required. “Complex programming over the entire life of the robot results in high costs. In contrast, the user saves time and money thanks to the simple handling and associated flexibility of our robots. Economical automation is possible from as little as 1 piece and is therefore also practicable for SMEs,” says Patrick Heimburger, CFO of Fruitcore Robotics.
Funds to provide smart automation solutions
The raised capital from this round will help Fruitcore Robotics to expand its European presence and extend its digital services.
“A robot alone cannot yet automate an application; it requires an intelligent linking of various components such as grippers, CNC systems, or safety systems. With our software, we network these components more strongly than has been common in the industry to date, thereby making the entire application intuitively operable, digital, and even affordable,” says Jens Riegger.
“We have already taken the first step in this direction with the launch of our IoT platform horstCOSMOS.com,” adds Riegger.
As of now, Fruitcore’s systems provide control of the entire robotic environment, integrating the physical application onto a digital platform. In the future, the company plans extensions to the software and the online platform that will make numerous applications automatable via plug & play.
About Fruitcore Robotics
The Constance-based company is a spin-off of the HTWG Konstanz (Hochschule Konstanz Technik Wirtschaft und Gestaltung). After research work by Jens Riegger and Manuel Frey in the robotics field, the first HORST prototypes were produced in 2016. The company’s founders also include Patrick Heimburger, Tim Schmiedl, and Tobias Kuentzle.
The team received the EXIST-Gründerstipendium for high startup projects, a startup funding from the federal government and the EU, and founded Fruitcore Robotics GmbH in May 2017. The company has grown to more than 80 employees and two locations – headquarters in Constance on Lake Constance and another production site in Villingen-Schwenningen.
Fruitcore Robotics specialises in the development, production, and marketing of easy-to-use robot systems. It focuses on making automation with industrial robots possible for the masses. The modular portfolio includes the HORST industrial robot, the intuitive horstFX software, the horstCOSMOS.com IoT platform, and intelligent camera recognition features.
The robot systems, including the hardware and the software, are all made in Germany. In addition to the robot systems, the company also offers ready-made solutions and software packages with which complete applications can be implemented via plug & play.
The portfolio includes three robot models with reaches of 600, 900, and 1400 millimetres and payloads between 3 and 12 kilograms. The company says several hundred robots are already in use by customers from a wide range of industries in Europe.