Miko robot

Mumbai, India-based robotics startup Miko, has raised ₹23 crore ( ~$3.15 million) in a fresh pre-series B financing round led by Stride Ventures. The startup’s existing investors – Chiratae Ventures, YourNest Venture Capital & a distinguished group of Angels led by  Mr. Keshav Murugesh also participated in the financing round.

Founded in 2015 by three IIT Bombay graduates, Sneh R Vaswani, Prashant Iyengar and Chintan Raikar, the startup launched its first robot-Miko back in 2017. The robot did simple tasks, like alerting you when a baby starts crying, and be a kid’s companion when parents are not at home. It could also do some standard operations like perform basic maths, read out stories, or tell a joke.

After the success of the first Miko, the startup launched Miko 2, which is a completely different beast with additional abilities that include vision, hearing, senses, express, talking, face recognition, remembering names, identifying moods, conversing and learning from its own environment to intuitively develop a bond with a child. The company has also developed a curriculum syllabus on the device with the help of ‘knowledge partners’, which gives an academic development curve to learning through the robot. A ‘parental control’ function allows guardians to take control of how much the robot can interact with the child. It is powered by a 1.5 GHz Quad-Core Processor and can last for 3 hours on a single charge. The robots are available to purchase on Miko’s website for Rs. 24,999.

Sneh R Vaswani, Co-Founder and CEO of Miko said, “Our growth journey till Miko 2 was about creating a product that meets the needs of today’s parents who seek a positive and trusted gateway of technology. Miko 2 has now evolved into a powerful content subscription platform with global content alliances. We are on track to surpass the 100,000 user mark in the coming quarters with Miko 2 hosting hundreds of applications and use cases. It’s very encouraging for the entire Miko team to build a global consumer technology brand out of India. In our journey, we are very pleased to partner with Stride Ventures and are looking forward towards a long-term relationship.”

The company also took its operations overseas by launching an office in the United States. This expansion has helped the startup develop a user base in over 90 countries. During the pandemic, it witnessed a 20% increase in engagement on its platform, which totals over 70 million interactions on its platform. This is largely in part to the social distancing norms still in effect in a major part of the world, forcing parents to find alternative communication channels for their children. Moreover, the syllabus feature of the Miko 2 also adds a personal touch to education in a time of video lectures, which has attracted a lot of attention from parents around the world.

With the fresh injection of funds, the robotics company looks to fund product development and create new global alliances.

Ishpreet Gandhi, Founder & Managing Partner, Stride Ventures, said, “At Stride, it is our mission to make the credit ecosystem more accessible to startups. The investment in Miko represents Stride’s commitment to enabling frontier technologies that have the potential to disrupt the status quo. We are proud to be associated with a company that is revolutionizing pedagogy through interactive IoT.” The VC firm said in a press release, it wants to be a strategic partner in Miko’s journey by providing help with its ‘customized offerings and deep relationships across banks and corporates’.