Jibo Inc., the company that built Jibo, a robot designed by famous roboticist Dr. Cynthia Breazeal, announced Wednesday that it raised $US25.3 million in a Series A round of funding led by RRE Ventures.
CRV, Fairhaven, Osage University Partners, Flybridge Capital Partners, Two Sigma Ventures, Formation 8, Samsung Ventures, and several angel investors also participated in the round.
Jibo, an adorable-looking social robot, looks a little bit like Luxo Jr., Pixar’s signature lamp. Jibo interacts with people, identifying their needs and helping them with various tasks including entertaining kids, giving you reminders, or helping you take well-framed pictures.
Jibo’s “head” is is a display that contains cameras to let it perceive its surroundings. Its “body” swivels.
Jibo can’t pick up dropped items from the floor or move from place to place, which Dr. Breazeal told Business Insider in July was an intentional design in order to keep Jibo’s price low.
Jibo held an Indiegogo campaign, in which it raised $US2.3 million from more than 5,000 backers. Breazeal says the next phase of building Jibo will include “human-robot social interaction and expressiveness mechanisms.”
In its fundraising announcement, Jibo also announced that Dr. Brazeal, who founded Jibo, will serve as chief scientist. Executive Chairman Steve Chambers will take on the role of Jibo CEO.
“Jibo is a natural fit for RRE Ventures,” RRE Ventures co-founder and Managing Partner Stuart Ellman said. “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 says it will use its new round of funding for four main purposes: growing its team seven-fold, fulfilling its Indiegogo campaign, developing its prototype, and ecosystem inspiration.
Here’s what Jibo looks like in action: