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Ex-Amazon VP's Cobot gets $100M for health care, retail robots

Illustration of a robot arm lifting a medical cross

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Cobot, a maker of so-called collaborative robots for health care and other industries, scored a $100 million Series B led by General Catalyst.

Why it matters: Founded by a former Amazon robotics VP and backed by the Mayo Clinic, the company wants to lead a "massive transition as AI drives productivity" in hospitals and other sectors, per Sequoia Capital's Alfred Lin.

Zoom in: Bison Ventures, Industry Ventures and Lux Capital joined the round alongside previous backers Sequoia Capital, Khosla Ventures, Mayo Clinic, Neo, 1984 Ventures, MVP Ventures and Calibrate Ventures.

  • The raise brings total funding to over $140 million.
  • Funds will power additional hiring and commercial deployments.
  • General Catalyst managing director Paul Kwan joins Lin as a member of Cobot's board of directors.

How it works: Former Amazonian Brad Porter founded Santa Clara, California-based Collaborative Robotics or Cobot in 2022 to develop robots that work alongside humans — hence "collaborative" in the name — to boost productivity and lower operational costs.

The backstory: Founded in 2022, Cobot raised a $30 million Series A from Sequoia, Khosla Ventures, and the Mayo Clinic in summer 2023.

  • The company also announced a biotech- and health care-focused program called Cobot Flywheel, of which Mayo Clinic is a named partner.
  • Mayo is working with Cobot to "redefine how health care approaches automation," Mayo Clinic operations administrator Stephen Fischer said in the 2023 release.

The big picture: General Catalyst has been a prime health tech investor this year, leading six of Q1 2024's highest-profile health care deals, including three fundraises over $50 million.

State of play: Robots and AI software developers are attracting more attention across health care amid provider shortages and tech advancements, especially within pharmacy and surgery.

  • Medical Microinstruments, a surgical robotics company, in February scored a $110 million Series C.
  • Capstan Medical, a developer of robotic-assisted heart valve surgery technology, last summer collected a $31.4 million Series B.
  • Phantom Neuro, a startup building a system to help people control robotic limbs, in 2022 raised a $3.26 million seed.

Reality check: There are myriad AI solutions on the market purporting to improve productivity and ease burnout that don't involve capital-intensive manufacturing of robots.

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