Cobalt Unveils Sleek Robotic Security Guards 🤖
RDV-backed Cobalt is revolutionizing indoor security with AI and robotics.
2017 might just be the year of autonomy: Uber’s self-driving cars are now picking up riders in Arizona, Elon Musk has promised Tesla will complete its first autonomous cross country road trip this year, and self-driving truck startups Waymo, Otto and Embark (founded by a 21-year old University of Waterloo dropout) are racing to the road. Now, there’s another industry going autonomous: Security guards.
RDV-backed Cobalt Robotics unveiled this week the robotic security guard they’ve been stealthily building for the past few months. Founded by Harvard recent-grad Erik Schluntz and former Google[x] engineer Travis Deyle, Cobalt’s robotic guards are revolutionizing enterprise security with 24/7 surveillance and monitoring of offices, museums, hospitals, schools and more.
Cobalt’s roboguards leverage the same technology found in autonomous cars (day-night 360° cameras, thermal cameras, LIDAR, and semantic mapping algorithms, for those tech-nerds reading) to understand its surroundings. These smart roboguards are built to recognize out-of-ordinary conditions such as if someone’s in the office after hours, if a door or window opens in the middle of the night, or if there’s a water leak. When things look suspicious, it alerts a highly specialized “pilot” at Cobalt’s HQ who immediately responds, whether that’s directing the roboguard to ask the person for a company ID or sending emergency assistance.
While nearly all companies claim safety and security a priority, 24/7 guard coverage costs more than $500K per year — just for a small office. By automating at least some of this security (ie covering corners, day-time security), Cobalt’s roboguards aim to provide a cost-efficient solution. Further, the real-time response these robots provide can be critical to ensuring employee safety — relying on humans to determine when and how to enlist help, as most employers currently do, assumes the person is capable of doing so. In an emergency situation like a fire or intruder, they may not be able to do so. Robots, however, remain calm and collected.
Both Travis and Erik have started companies before. When we first met Erik back in 2012, he was an underclassman at Harvard College working on an iPad customer survey software startup called Posmetrics with RDV-alum Merill Lutsky. The two dropped out to pursue the startup full-time when they were accepted to YCombinator in Winter 2013. The startup was acquired by Revinate shortly after YC, and both founders returned to school.In his remaining summer breaks, Erik interned Google[x] where he worked with Travis, a peer founder he met at YC. Travis had been pursuing his own startup — Lollipuff — that also participated in YC’s W13 batch.
At Google, the two bonded over a shared passion for robotics and startups and decided to collaborate on their next venture. They didn’t know what they’d come up with at the time, but we’re happy they landed on Cobalt.
We’re proud to support Cobalt alongside Bloomberg Beta, Promus Ventures, Subtraction Capital and others. With more than a dozen robots in circulation with major corporate clients this quarter, we can’t wait for what’s next.