Our Investment in Diligent Robotics — a nurse assistant robotics company

DNX Ventures
Mar 20, 2020 · 3 min read

Healthcare/Robotics, Series A

Hospitals and healthcare services are one of the crucial pillars of a functional society comprised of tireless men and women working round the clock to keep us safe and healthy. While some of us have flexibility to work remotely, healthcare services are always in person, on the ground, driven by the needs of patients. Those needs are only accelerated due to our aging population, and the current and future healthcare crisis that is part and parcel of a global society.

Hospitals have highly skilled people doing low skilled work

According to the American Nursing Association & Bureau of Labor and Statistics, U.S. will be short 1.1M nurses nationwide by 2022 and the increasing stress the aging population is putting on the healthcare system translates to about 500,000 new nurses and assistive staff job openings every year for the next decade! Given the level of workforce shortage, hospitals deeply care about retaining their highly skilled staff. Average nurse turnover ranges from 10–30% depending on the region and the specialty and the estimated cost for replacing a nurse is about $40K. A robot handling menial delivery tasks is one easy way for hospitals to improve their staff well being and manage their retention.

After visiting many hospitals and through independent conversations with healthcare experts, we understood the gravity of the problem and we became convinced mobile robotics would be highly valuable in hospital environments.

A friendly robotic nurse assistant can help solve the problem

We at DNX, as deep science and engineering nerds, have invested in robotics and automation across a number of different verticals — Nauto (Driver Behavior Solution), ICEYE (SAR microsatellite), Movandi (5G mmWave) to name a few. So when we met Andrea and Vivian at Diligent Robotics, we instantly grasped the potential value their friendly robotic nurse assistant “Moxi” can add to the hospital environments. Both Andrea and Vivian have thought about the problem of robots in human environments for the significant part of their research careers at MIT, Georgia Tech and recently UT Austin. They have achieved deep insights into bringing their products and innovations with “healthcare-grade” privacy, safety and interactivity to the market.

Why Diligent Robotics?

From Left: Vivian Chu (CTO and Co-Founder), Moxi, Andrea Thomaz (CEO and Co-Founder)

We love situations where founders are addressing obvious pain (usually an indicator of a massive addressable market), and have an in-depth domain understanding and the limits of current technology. We were impressed by how Andrea and Vivian immersed themselves in the hospital environment and understood the level of automation required to provide significant relief to the hospital staff.

Moxi will initially address delivery-related tasks to help with nurse burnout and retention issues that hospitals face today. Moxi is being adopted by some leading hospitals in Texas, validating Moxi’s value proposition and commercial readiness.

We are excited to lead the Series A investment in Diligent Robotics and partner with Andrea and Vivian to realize their vision of deploying Moxi across all US healthcare facilities and alleviate the burden on our healthcare staff.

Diligent Robotics is hiring at their HQ in Austin, Texas — Join us if you support the mission of helping our healthcare system!

Article Written by Q Motiwala, Natsuki Zihnioglu

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