Tuesday 30th January 2018
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Christchurch-based robot maker Invert Robotics raised more than $6 million from private investors as it expands into Europe and branches out into other sectors.
The company first raised $740,000 through crowdfunding platform Equitise in May 2016 and has now raised $6.4 million from private investors from Australia and New Zealand, including former Macquarie Group chief Allan Moss. Powerhouse Ventures is still the robot maker's biggest shareholder, with 23 percent of the company, according to Companies Office filings. The New Zealand Venture Investment Fund (NZVIF) is the second largest with 14.5 percent followed by Guildford Investments with 5.3 percent.
The company produces mobile climbing robots with video feeds that can inspect industrial tanks without causing damage. Australasian dairy groups Fonterra Cooperative Group, Synlait Milk and Murray Goldburn and a number of global food and beverage brands use the robots, which have attracted interest from the food and beverage manufacturing industry in Europe and Asia such as FrieslandCampina and Heineken, the company said.
Invert Robotics said it expects revenue to quadruple in the current financial year, with significant contributions from European operations. Revenue was less than $1 million as at June 30, 2017, according to Powerhouse's website. It is about to open premises in Germany and Denmark and has already opened in the Netherlands.
The company also said it is about to make an announcement about a European partnership soon after getting attention from the aviation inspection market and is looking at potential opportunities in the chemical industry, in addition to further work with energy, oil and gas companies.
"Unlike other inspection methods using dyes, drones and optical or laser devices, Invert Robotic's technology provides 360-degree diagnostics and does so in up to half the time of traditional inspections," managing director Neil Fletcher said. "The accuracy, efficiency and the value-adding environmental and safety benefits of robotic technology makes it an obvious choice as global consumer demand for product safety, brand integrity and transparency grows."
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