Electric autonomous vehicle company, the Academy of Robotics, has closed its latest funding round in under six hours. Investment came in so quickly that they turned down an additional £500,000 that was offered. Contributor William Sachiti, Founder – Academy of Robotics
The Academy of Robotics is currently developing Kar-Go, the autonomous delivery vehicle. Kar-Go hopes to shake-up the delivery market by removing 90 percent of the costs involved in making a delivery – helping to increase profits for logistics companies and decrease costs for consumers.
By using a combination of advanced robotics and driverless vehicle technology, Kar-Go is designed to autonomously drive on unmarked roads such as residential areas. Unlike many driverless vehicles that are best-suited to main roads and highways, Kar-Go is specifically designed with small, residential side-streets in mind.
The company recently announced it hired award winning designer Paul Burgess who left his role at McLaren to become chief designer at the Academy of Robotics. The company has developed its own vehicle chassis and proprietary software, and has filed several patents around autonomous vehicle technology and autonomous delivery for more complex logistics environments.
The Academy of Robotics is partnered with UK car manufacturer Pilgrim Motorsports with whom they are working to build the street legal versions of their autonomous vehicles at Pilgrim’s production facility in the UK.
The founder of the Academy of Robotics, William Sachiti said: “It has been 10 months since we closed our last funding round, as costs constantly change, there was a need to raise an additional 70K to take us through production. We reached out to our existing investors and showed them our progress to date and then simply asked them to help close the funding gap. In under six hours we had pledges for over 100K from half a dozen investors. Within 24 hours, pledges reached nearly half a million.
“Half the formula for a winning start-up is having great investors aligned with it, who react decisively to funding rounds and requests for investment. We are very lucky to have great investors on board who fit into this category. My job is to steer the company in the right direction while also looking after the interests of the existing investors, which is why I only accepted 100K and turned down the rest.
“I am not keen on taking a bunch of money and then subsequently diluting our existing shareholders. In terms of fundraising, we will soon raise a larger round as we roll out and begin trials but there is value in waiting until our prototype is complete. After the prototype is complete, we will be able to raise at a bigger valuation which is much better for the shareholders we have currently.
“Working on Kar-Go has been an incredible collaborative journey between people in four countries, national retailers, logistics companies and our tech partner NVIDIA. We are on the final stretch and can’t wait to show the world what we have all been working on” The company was recently mentioned by Richard Branson when asked who he thought might be among the first to put autonomous cars on the UK’s roads. Branson also linked to Kar-Go on his Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter accounts.