Jibo, which develops a connected, consumer robot for the home, announced it has raised $25.3 million in Series A funding. RRE Ventures led the round, with participation from CRV, Flybridge Capital Partners, Fairhaven Capital Partners, Two Sigma, Formation 8, Samsung Ventures, Osage Venture Partners and individual investors. The Cambridge, Mass.-based company had previously raised an undisclosed amount of seed funding, led by CRV.
Jibo held a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo from mid-July to mid-September last year in which it pre-sold 4,800 units and raised $2.8 million. The product acts like a smart assistant, reminding users of tasks and interacting with the household. The company, which is no longer taking pre-orders, said it is planning to release its product for the consumer in the first quarter of 2016. “We chose to launch on crowdfunding to prove the product, and the seed funding helped to develop the prototype,” said Steve Chambers, CEO of Jibo.
The company was founded in 2012 by Cynthia Breazeal, chief scientist of Jibo and a pioneer in social robotics.
Photo of Jibo courtesy of the company.
Jibo, Inc., Raises $25.3M in Series A Financing
Executive Chairman Steve Chambers takes on the role of CEO as Founder Cynthia Breazeal becomes chief scientist
Jibo, Inc., the company behind Jibo – the first family robot – today announced $25.3M in Series A financing, led by RRE Ventures. Participating existing investor CRV, also the lead seed investor, and existing investors Fairhaven and Osage University Partners join new investors RRE, Flybridge Capital Partners, Two Sigma Ventures, Formation 8, Samsung Ventures and several angels in the round.
“Jibo is a natural fit for RRE Ventures,” said RRE Ventures Co-founder and Managing Partner Stuart Ellman. “RRE has a long history of discovering category-defining companies in emerging industries and supporting their visionary founders. BuzzFeed in Content 2.0. Makerbot in 3D printing. Venmo in peer-to-peer payments. These ideas seemed crazy at the time. But crazy is a beautiful word at RRE; what’s crazy today is in your home tomorrow. That’s Jibo.”
Jibo will use the funding to pursue four key endeavors:
- Campaign fulfillment: This funding will primarily provide the ability to fulfill our record-breaking Indiegogo campaign and to build the first batch of consumer-ready Jibos and beyond.
- Team growth: The Jibo team will expand its workforce seven-fold, with an emphasis on software, hardware and cloud development. The company will also look to grow its user experience team and human factors design talent to get Jibo ready for the home.
- Prototype development: The funding will provide the means to partner with third-party manufacturers to speed the development of advanced prototypes that will help take Jibo from idea to reality.
- Ecosystem inspiration: Jibo will seed simulator units, then full developer unit Jibos with SDKs, to the developer community to help drive engagement and expand the portfolio of Jibo Skills.
“We are thrilled to increase our commitment to Jibo in this Series A Round particularly given our early identification of Jibo as a pioneer of an explosive field of social robotics for consumers,” said Bruce Sachs, general partner of CRV.
Jibo, Inc., is also announcing that social robotics pioneer and Jibo founder, Dr. Cynthia Breazeal, has named current Executive Chairman, Steve Chambers, as the new CEO of Jibo, Inc. Cynthia will step into the role of chief scientist. From his previous role as President of Nuance Communications – a global leader in voice recognition and artificial intelligence – Steve keenly understands consumer expectations and interactions with AI systems and will use his expertise to elevate the Jibo experience.
“People are excited about the promise of social robotics in the home. From our backers and community to the investors who are involved in this round of funding, everyone wants to see Jibo brought to life,” said Steve Chambers, CEO of Jibo, Inc. “As I step into the CEO role, I am dedicated to making Jibo a household name and achieving a user experience the market craves, not only because of the advanced social robotics technologies powering Jibo’s expressive personality but through the strategic partnerships and world of developers who will bring new Jibo Skills to the Jibo platform, expanding Jibo’s consumer appeal.”
The Jibo Indiegogo campaign raised $2.3M with more than 5,000 people funding the project. For the next phase of building Jibo, Cynthia will focus on the human-robot social interaction and expressiveness mechanisms as well as the community of developers so integral to the company’s explosive rise to success.
“As we look to grow Jibo, Inc., in the coming year, Steve is the perfect choice to build the business infrastructure for this new breed of consumer robotics company,” said Cynthia Breazeal, founder and chief scientist of Jibo, Inc. “Steve can focus on building relationships with other pioneers across industries while I bring together the most creative minds in user interaction and social robotics to make what seem like futuristic dreams into real-world possibilities.”
About Jibo, Inc.:
Jibo is the world’s first family robot, bringing intelligence and helpfulness with heart to the connected home. Founded in 2012 by Cynthia Breazeal, a pioneer of social robotics and human robot interaction from the MIT Media Lab, Jibo Inc. takes technology from user-friendly to genuinely friendly. Built as an open social robotics platform, Jibo’s Skills will range from attentive companion to family helper to family communications hub, in addition to a world of Jibo Developer Skills to come. Get to know your Jibo today at www.myjibo.com or say hi on Twitter @jiborobot or www.facebook.com/jiborobot.