Robotics investments are picking up after the pandemic slowdown

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New data from Crunchbase this week shows that robotics investment is once again heading in a positive direction. The total numbers saw a steady decline over the past two years, with 2021 hitting a record low due to job losses caused by the pandemic. As we enter the second half of the year, 2024 is on track to surpass last year’s numbers.

The category has seen investments of $4.2 billion in the first six months of the year, putting it on track to surpass 2023’s 12-month total of $6.8 billion. The numbers are still well behind 2021’s Covid peak, which saw investments of $17.7 billion, and even 2022’s $10.3 billion.

However, it also marks a recovery from the one-two punch of economic headwinds and post-pandemic reopening, which had devastated the industry again.

The white-hot humanoid category continues to boom. Figures led the way in this space with a $675 million Series B. This raise alone moved the needle a little bit. The other notable humanoid investment came via 1X. The Norwegian firm, which was an early backer of OpenAI, invested a cool $100 million.

Medical robots have had a good year thanks to big rounds from MMI and Rono Surgical, but once again, labor replacement is the biggest driver, as places like warehouses and factories need to automate jobs they’re having trouble filling.

These demands are not going away anytime soon, while continued investment excitement around all things AI is likely to further boost robotic startup growth. Unfortunately, it may take another pandemic to reach 2021 levels.

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