There are over 500 key companies that are making robotic products. The industry is expected to grow to $260B by 2030 across four main categories: industrial robots, professional services (medical/agricultural applications), mobile professional services (underwater item retrieval, cleaning, etc.), and automated guided vehicles. While interest in the space continues to surge with new participants entering, it’s creating a challenge as most of these robotic products builders operate in their own ecosystem and silos. Viam is a robotics software platform that standardizes building blocks to create, control, and configure robots, irrespective of hardware and code used. By creating a standard framework and accessible blocks, engineers are able to focus on applying robotics to a greater array of applications with speed without having to worry about the impact of individual code stacks. Founded last year, the company is working with a number of partners in private alpha.
AlleyWatch caught up with Viam CEO, Founder, and serial entrepreneur Eliot Horowitz (MongoDB) to learn more about the inspiration for the venture, the platform’s public launch later this year, latest round of funding, which brings the total funding raised to $42M, and much, much more…
Who were your investors and how much did you raise?
We announced the close of our $30M Series A round led by Tiger Global, with participation from returning investor Union Square Ventures, and Battery Ventures.
Tell us about the product or service that Viam offers.
At Viam, we’re addressing these issues by building a novel robotics platform that relies on standardized building blocks rather than custom code to create, configure and control robots intuitively and quickly. We’re empowering engineers – aspiring and experienced – across industries to solve complicated automation problems with our innovative software tools.
What inspired the start of Viam?
Robotics has the potential to do so much good, but progress has been slowed by complicated hardware and software integrations, long development cycles, and people’s fear of tripping over a robot on their way to work.
Viam is building a software platform that is hardware and language agnostic, enabling anyone to create, configure and control any robot from anywhere.
What are your post-COVID office plans?
We have and will maintain offices in Manhattan and Bend, Oregon.
What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?
Albert Wenger, Partner, USV, commented, “Robotics holds a profound promise to make our lives better. Viam will make it dramatically easier to bring new and more powerful robots to market. This is a massive opportunity and I am thrilled to be working with Eliot again.”
“Structural shortages in the labor market are driving explosive demand for robotics and automation,” said Griffin Schroeder, Partner, Tiger Global. “We are excited to support Eliot and the Viam team in their audacious endeavor to rebuild – from scratch – the platform underlying the modern robotics industry, and enable the next generation of problem solvers.”
What are the milestones you plan to achieve in the next six months?
Viam is working with a growing and curated set of partners in private alpha, and is preparing for a public launch later this year.
What advice can you offer companies in New York that do not have a fresh
injection of capital in the bank?
Where do you see the company going now over the near term?
The latest investment will enable Viam to expand its team size and support ongoing research and development (R&D) to enhance its platform.
What’s your favorite outdoor dining restaurant in NYC?