Trivandrum-based robotics startup Genrobotics, which gained popularity for its robot that helped did away with manual manhole cleaning, has raised Rs 2.5 crores ( approx. $340,000 ) in its Pre Series A financing round, getting the golden stamp of approval from Anand Mahindra himself.
The funding was led by existing investor Unicorn India Ventures, while Anand Mahindra and SEA Fund participated as new investors. The startup says Anand Mahindra has invested in the company in his own capacity.
Genrobotics was started in 2015 from Trivandrum to design and develop robotic solutions to various relevant social issues. It has also established a sister wing to help boost Medical Mobility Research in India. The startup is backed by great firms like Google developers launchpad, TATA, Dubai Future accelerators and many more. The robotics startup has worked with the Indian Union Ministry and state governments to address the issue of manual scavenging through robotics and AI.
The company’s biggest achievement perhaps is an automated manhole cleaning robot called Bandicoot 2.0 which has been highly praised by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs and Smart City Mission India. The Ministry regarded the Bandicoot 2.0 robot as ‘an excellent example for enabling Zero Human-Intervention in the sewerage cleaning process’. Even the new investor, Anand Mahindra, had high praise for the company who had tweeted, “There’s a lot of nervousness about the role of robots & AI in the future. But frankly, if robots can liberate people from this most degrading job in the universe, then I promise I will discard any doubts & always pray at the shrine of technology & robotics”.
Genrobotics has also developed an application called ‘G BEETLE’ which it says is a ‘Manhole Monitoring System’. This system collects data from the sensors placed in the manholes and notifies about the health of the manhole and sends alerts of any over-clogging manholes nearby. It uses machine learning and AI to process the information collected from the sensors. The application also provides alerts and updates for the routine maintenance of the manholes.
Currently, Bandicoot 2.0 is deployed in 11 states across the country, and Genrobotics claims that it has helped in the rehabilitation of hundreds of sanitation workers.
With the new funds coming in, the startup said it wants to increase the production of its Bandicoot robots and start developing new products for its mission in the healthcare segment.
“We are so happy that Bandicoot is bringing smiles to those innocent ones and we believe that our efforts brought light into the stinking realities of Manual scavenging in India. It was a great moment for us when Mr. Anand Mahindra took a personal interest in favor of robotic solutions for the real crisis hidden in. Mr.Mahindra has offered his full support on implementing Bandicoots in each and every corner of India for putting an end to this dehumanizing activity completely and it has accelerated the process of transforming the Manual scavenging to Robotic scavenging,” said Vimal Govind, Co-founder CEO, Genrobotics.
This comes at a time when robotics startups have seen a lot of public support, due to the Prime Minister’s ‘Atmanirbhar’ campaign. Startups like GreyOrange and Unbox robotics have recently raised a lot of money in a bid to grow their businesses.