The vision, ambition, execution, timing and potential of 1X 🤖❤️👩‍🦰

1X, a company developing the world’s safest and most capable androids, recently announced a 23.5 MUSD Series A investment co-led by OpenAI Startup Fund and Tiger Global Management, as announced by 1X on Medium and covered by Shifter (🇳🇴) and Finansavisen (🇳🇴,$). We are excited to join an impressive syndicate of smart AI investors backing 1X on the mission to “safely deploy androids in the human world, augmenting labor globally.” We think that the company, originally out of Moss, Norway, is onto something really big.

Arne H. Tonning
Alliance VC

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NEO, the next robot in the 1X family

An overnight success based on years of vision, ambition and execution

We had the pleasure of meeting 1X, then and until recently called Halodi Robotics, already in 2017 and were instantly impressed by the tech and the team’s deep skillset. Furthermore, we were blown away by the vision and ambition of the company’s plans, both in terms of boldness and risk.

1X had developed a uniquely light, efficient and powerful electric motor that leading tech companies were eager to use in various applications. It seemed like a real opportunity to build a solid company based on the electric motor itself, yet 1X’s ambition to become a leading supplier of humanoid robots went far beyond this.

Venture investors, Alliance VC included, like bold ambitions and plans. Still, we didn’t find strong enough conviction on the risk/reward of investing at that time in light of the capital needs and the time horizon, in addition to questions and risks related to execution, product complexity, competition, use cases, market maturity, timing, etc.

Meeting 1X early proved to be a good start for getting to know each other and tracking the progress, leading to multiple interactions over the years. Inside the company, it must have been a challenging journey, with lots of building and many issues to resolve. Today it’s evident that the team has executed beyond any reasonable expectation on something very difficult.

Based on a persistent long-term effort the team has built an amazing integrated robotics platform ready to be deployed, thus bringing their vision and ambition closer to reality. 1X coming to market now is impeccably timed with the recent developments in AI, enabling the system capabilities and performance for the first applications. To new observers, it may look like a perfect storm for overnight success, yet it’s the result of many years of hard work by a company and team betting on themselves against the odds — an endeavor that deserves lots of kudos.

“1X is well-positioned in terms of technology portfolio, product maturity and real customer experience. We work along two tracks: EVE will be commercialized to offer night patrol services in the US, while at the same time, we are working to establish a production line for our first bipedal android, NEO. NEO will join the ranks of recently announced bipedal robots from large, well-known players such as Tesla, Boston Dynamics and Figure, who are all working to develop the best technology”, Bernt Børnich, CEO/co-founder, 1X

Leveraging a unique capability to enable real-world robotic autonomy

Today 1X is much more than an electric motor company, but it still has unique and leading core technology with new iterations of its motor. What’s most impressive is how 1X leverages its invention in a multi-layered way to build something much bigger, more valuable and defendable.

  • The unmatched electric motor is the core component to build uniquely powerful, “soft”, light and efficient robotic semi-direct drive actuation capabilities
  • The actuation capabilities enable an agile and integrated robotic system comprised of tailored mechanics, electronics and software
  • With full control of system architecture and design, the robots are made highly capable and controllable based on the inherent physics
  • The light and “soft” characteristics of the robots make them safe to deploy in human environments, while the combo of capabilities and efficiency make them viable and deployable in reality
  • Deployed robots facilitate data collection, indexing of the real world and solutions to real applications
  • Real-world data provide critical training data for state-of-the-art AI, and massive amounts of data will make the AI converge and enable autonomous navigation and human-like interaction in the real world

Targeting long-term potential by providing value now

The game plan described above is the exciting and big bet for 1X to build a moat and unique long-term value. Demographic changes in the developed world are expected to lead to a significant labor shortage in the years to come. Androids could play an important role in filling some of this gap. Analysts predict the market potential for humanoid robots to be 150 BUSD in 2035. While that number may only be directional, the potential is still enormous for players who can solve the right use cases sufficiently well.

To get the ball rolling in the short term it is critical to pick the right early applications based on customer value. We expect 1X to have early success in the security market, where it has great traction. ADT, a 1X partner, has announced an offering for autonomous physical security and guarding tasks in commercial buildings as a service, using EVE — the first 1X robot. In parallel 1X is exploring opportunities and applications within retail, logistics and health care with leading customers and partners.

EVE has the ability to gently manipulate objects, enabling real-world interaction

Building a winning alliance

Starting and building a globally leading android company in Moss, Norway, is not an obvious thing to do, and 1X now belongs on a big stage. It’s game-changing that some of the world's leading robotics and AI people and investors have now discovered the company, recognized its platform/technology and committed to joining the journey from here.

Working with the best AI resources in Silicon Valley will help accelerate the 1X platform. Building a global leader will require quality partnerships and networks, as well as access to exceptional talent and tech. We believe that 1X is constructing a winning alliance to help it succeed. We are naturally stoked about the invitation to be the Alliance in the alliance 😉 and ready to play our part in helping 1X reach its ambition.

Thanks to Bernt and Stein Erik for creating the opportunity and extending the invite. 👊 also to Christian Rokseth, a risk-taking angel investor, 1X non-exec director and Alliance Venture Network member (LP) for discussions along the way.

Please check out and connect with 1X here:

About 1X Technologies
1X, previously named Halodi Robotics, is an engineering and robotics company producing androids capable of human-like movements and behaviors. The company was founded in 2014 and is headquartered in Norway, with over 50 employees globally. 1X’s goal is to safely deploy androids in the human world, augmenting labor globally.

Alliance Venture Delta is proud to be backed by:

Supported by InnovFin Equity, with the financial backing of the European Union under Horizon 2020 Financial Instrument and the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) set up under the Investment Plan for Europe. The purpose of EFSI is to help support financing and implementing productive investments in the European Union and to ensure increased access to financing.

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