Several news organizations, including TechCrunch and VentureBeat, reported today that Double Robotics is now shipping its unique “wheels for your iPad” telepresence robot.
Double, as the system is called, has managed to stand out in the somewhat crowded telepresence field because of its attractive design and relatively inexpensive price tag ($1,999 if you order today) as well as its origins as a Y Combinator-backed start-up. Y Combinator provides money, advice and connections for the start-ups it seeds, but given the modest amounts it invests (typically $11,000 to $20,000) the companies it funds tend to be Web- or software-based. Double benefitted from an impressive number of pre-orders — at least $1.2 million worth according to a company release — which helped the fledgling business prove its viability. (The first production run of robots, scheduled to ship in December, sold out; this latest announcement relates to all subsequent orders.) It also received a $250,000 investment from Grishin Robotics in September.
Along with the spate of Kickstarter-funded robotics hardware that has been in the news and the growing list of venture capital firms targeting robotics, today’s robotics start-ups have more funding channels than ever. Dmitry Grishin, founder of Grishin Robotics, says we are at the start of a “transformative period for robotics that requires a new breed of risk-takers to drive mass-market adoption.” It will be interesting to see if these new funding mechanisms do indeed fuel the kind of robotic renaissance he envisions. So far, Double Robotics at least is off to a promising start.
According to VentureBeat, Double Robotics will continue to honor its $1,999 pre-order price until June 6, at which time the regular $2,499 price will go into effect.
[ photo courtesy of Double Robotics ]