On the 30th of October 2020 Sea Machines Robotics has announced it has reached its $20 million 2020 fundraising goal. The company has been fundraising throughout 2020 with its first round of fundraising coming to close in July. The first round of fundraising came to $15 million with help from the major US shipbuilder Huntington Ingalls Industries. The second round of fundraising ending today, saw another $5 million toward the 20$ million objective. The CEO of Sea Machines Robotics released a statement on the back of this achievement today stating:
“We set the goals for this round in March and with this now accomplished we find ourselves in a great position to focus on execution and scaling by growing our team, expanding our product sales and furthering our advanced technology.”Michael G Johnson – CEO Sea Machines Robotics
The essence of the statement outside of their financing requirements lie in expressing a growing company with expansive potential. The statement, likely geared towards proving the necessity of the investment received, looks towards emphasizing the growth of technology undertaken by the company. The statement is keen to express, indirectly, the link between product innovation expansion with a requirement for a greater workforce. The connection drawn is likely an attempt to draw more investor attention particularly with the ongoing development for the SM400 situational awareness enhancement system.
The financing package has come from a collection of financing partners in the company. The partners currently involved in Sea Machines Robotics are Brunswick Corporation, Brunswick Corporation partner – TechNexus, Toyota AI Ventures and NextGen Venture partners. The round of fundraising closing today also welcomed a new investor, San Francisco based Dolby Family Ventures.
The Brunswick Corporation is the oldest of the firms currently investing in the latest round of Sea Machines Robotics company, founded in 1845. The Brunswick Corporation is best known for their manufacturing of pleasure boats. The 1980s saw the company acquire Bayliner, Boston Whaler, Maxum, Sea Ray and Trophy small vessel manufacturing firms. The start of the 21st century saw the company further their maritime presence acquiring Lowe Boats in 2004 along with Northstar Technologies and Navman. The latter two companies specialized in manufacturing marine electronics and were merged into a single maritime firm to provide electronics to the larger Brunswick family. The Brunswick Corporation rounded its aquatic specialism by acquiring the Freedom Boat Club in 2019, the US’s largest marine franchiser. The investment in Sea Machines Robotics has likely been executed with an eye to creating future autonomous pleasure yachts and sub-yacht vessels. The investment in Sea Machines Robotics then fits comfortably within Brunswick’s market scope.
Toyota AI Ventures
Toyota AI Ventures is a venture capital firm belonging to the larger Toyota AI company. Toyota AI Ventures has the objective to support start ups in AI, autonomy, mobility, robotics and data systems. The company is based in Los Altos California and was armed with a $100 million investment pot on launch in 2017. The fund has several firms whose output are either similar or in the same realm as, Sea Machines Robotics. The most interesting of these firms are, Apex AI, Cartica and Freedom Robotics. Apex AI specializing in the creation of the Apex OS for autonomous systems. Cartica pioneers products towards enabling computer driven sensor fusion based autonomous vehicles to ‘see’ their surroundings. The venture most similar to Sea Machines Robotics in scope is Freedom Robotics which designs software to manage fleets of autonomous vehicles. The fund’s penchant for autonomous systems puts Sea Machines Robotics firmly within their purview.
TechNexus is a previous investor in Sea Machines Robotics. The company is featured on our Spotlight Companies feature on Sea Machines Robotics as a prime investor. The company does not create a significant output of information about their projects and as such their entry here is brief. The company’s portfolio presents three companies which could potentially complement Sea Machines Robotics. The companies, ANGLR and HAAS Alert are both software firms looking towards data harvesting and distribution. ANGLR utilizes GPS data in addition to weather and water conditions to allow for the better planning of fishing activities. HAAS Alert manufactures real time vehicle-to-vehicle safety clouds, allowing autonomous vehicles to share information with each other. The latter company is akin to Freedom Robotics in its general objective area. Sea Machines Robotics is unique within TechNexus’ portfolio in terms of its maritime autonomous specialism. The retention of the company is likely due to the venture firm being already impressed by Sea Machines Robotics. TechNexus clearly believes the company can go further and such confidence from should not be underestimated.
Dolby Family Ventures is a smaller scale venture capital firm specializing in early stage investment. The firm was founded in 2014 after the death of Ray Dolby in the previous year. The investment fund is designed to be a posthumous tribute to Mr. Dolby’s enthusiasm for science and technology. Mr. Dolby developed surround sound for the film industry in the form of Dolby sound. Dolby sound became universal through the film industry giving the man a particular interest in innovating and pushing the technological boundaries ever further. Sea Machines Robotics is the company’s first venture into both the maritime and autonomous systems market. The Dolby Family Ventures firm’s decision to make Sea Machines Robotics its first appearance in the two markets is good mark of its perceived future potential.