Rethink Robotics nabs $26.6M to keep building easy-to-train bots

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Credit: Barb Darrow

Rethink Robotics, builder of the beloved Baxter robot, announced a $26.6 million Series D round today, bumping up its total funding to more than $100 million.

GE Ventures led the round. Goldman Sachs, Bezos Expeditions, CRV, Highland Capital Partners, Sigma Partners, Draper Fisher Jurvetson and Two Sigma Ventures also participated. Rethink Robotics didn’t go into details about the funds’ use, but said the money will go toward international expansion and research.

Baxter is a human-sized robot that can be quickly trained to complete a new task by dragging its arms from place to place and telling it to repeat. It is safe to operate around humans and is popular in both industrial settings and laboratories. It sells for $25,000 — not the cheapest these days, but far below the cost of traditional industrial robots.

Rethink Robotics announced a major software update in November that uses markers, similar to barcodes, to help Baxter recognize and interact with its environment. The robot uses the markers to keep track of items even after they are bumped or moved and alternate between tasks without having to be retrained.

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