London start-up Automata has raised $7.4 million for its ‘desktop’ robotic arms.

The firm said the technology is smaller, cheaper and easier to use than its competitors with a price tag of $5,000 compared to $25,000 for the piece of equipment it’s aiming to replace.

The Series A funding was led by Hummingbird Ventures, with participation also from firstminute Capital, Hardware Club, LocalGlobe, ABB, and Entrepreneur First.

It will be used to expand Automata’s current team of 42, as well as to ramp up production of the robot Eva, which brings the total raised by the start-up to $9.5m.

Founded by Suryansh Chandra and Mostafa ElSayed in 2015, the duo previously worked together at architecture firm Zaha Hadid when they found themselves wishing for a machine that could help them build the individual panels they needed for a structure.

When Automata first started building prototypes of robotic arms, ElSayed said that the start-up originally thought the target customers would be people working in fields that might benefit from being able to create more physical objects, like panels, but on a bespoke level, similar to the way that 3D printers are used today.

Automata founders

Mostafa ElSayed (left) and Suryansh Chandra

“It turned out manufacturers had the most need for it, though,” said ElSayed.

Chandra said: “One day our inbox blew up with big industrial companies and tiny SMEs who were all interested in testing our prototype.”

Barend Van den Brande, founding partner at Hummingbird Ventures, added: “Suryansh and Mostafa bring a visionary perspective to robotics and an endearing determination to turn the traditional manufacturing model on its head by fostering a new dimension of productivity, whilst simultaneously lowering the costs for developed and high-labour cost countries.

“Automata is a company making fundamental changes in the robotics space,” said Robin Klein, cofounder and general partner at LocalGlobe.

“By offering an industrial quality, lightweight robot capable of being set up and operational in a matter of hours, Automata is encouraging businesses to embrace automation like never before.”

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