Bridging the Enterprise Security Gap with Robots — Our Investment in Cobalt Robotics
At Toyota AI Ventures, we’re always on the hunt for innovative entrepreneurs discovering the next big thing in autonomous mobility, robotics, and AI. We get especially excited when we can invest in startups that amplify the human experience by connecting us with machines. Today we’re proud to add another name to our investment roster that embodies this philosophy — Cobalt Robotics.
Founded by Travis Deyle (CEO) and Erik Schluntz (CTO), Cobalt is working to solve physical security challenges with a robotics-as-a-service solution for security and facility operations. The Cobalt team has gone beyond a simple robot security guard. They’ve created a comprehensive system that pairs autonomous indoor robots with highly-trained, remote specialists that can function as both customer service and physical security responders. Their carefully-crafted, autonomous robots provide friendly, interactive points of contact for visitors and employees, while acting as vigilant monitors, keeping an eye on key campus areas and expanding the reach of existing security staff.
When Travis and Erik met at X Development, they had plenty of opportunities to explore the evolving robotics market. However, in conversations with potential clients, the most pressing issue they encountered was the inefficiency of business security systems. While human security guards can be effective, they simply can’t be available at all times, in all places. By introducing remote security professionals, Cobalt amplifies the security workforce of its clients, providing additional human support that works in concert with Cobalt robots.
The Cobalt Robot was designed from the start as an unobtrusive, approachable office co-worker that is, at heart, an autonomous vehicle. It can navigate complex environments and learn the layout of a building using AI. Like an autonomous vehicle, it also recognizes objects with its sensors, including depth cameras and LiDAR. When the robot encounters abnormalities during its journey, such as an unexpected person, unknown sound, or door ajar, it alerts a remote specialist and patches them into the robot’s interface so he or she can directly manage the event.
This combination of hardware, software, and people working together is what attracted us to Cobalt. We also love the robotics-as-a-service business model which has generated an impressive amount of customer traction. Cobalt’s service is already being used by customers like Briggs & Stratton, Slack and Yelp that need to scale their enterprise security.
Since 2016, Cobalt has been assembling a team of renowned technologists and security professionals to further the potential of human-robot interaction to create smarter, safer workplaces. In March 2018, the company announced a Series A funding round with support from well-known investors including Sequoia Capital and Bloomberg Beta. Today, we are proud to join this group of investors in Cobalt’s $35M Series B funding round, alongside global technology investment firm Coatue. We look forward to helping Cobalt take the next step in their exciting startup journey as they expand their services throughout the U.S. and the world.
To find out more about how Cobalt is helping make spaces and places more secure, check out their website. You can also join the Toyota AI Ventures Talent Network to explore job openings at Cobalt and other portfolio companies.