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Croatian robotics and AI company Gideon Brothers raised a $31 million Series A round. The round was led by Koch Disruptive Technologies (KDT), the venture arm of the largest private US company Koch Industries. Gideon Brothers was also supported by DB Schenker, the fourth biggest third-party logistics provider, and Prologis Ventures – a venture arm of the world’s largest industrial real estate owner. Rite-Hite, an American provider of loading dock equipment space, joined the Series A as well.
“The Series A round is an important milestone for Gideon Brothers. The pandemic has dramatically accelerated the adoption of smart automation, and we are ready to meet the unprecedented market demand. With this new round of funding, we will be expanding across key markets of the EU and the USA by opening offices in Munich, Germany, and Boston, Massachusetts. We plan to grow our R&D, Manufacturing, Sales, Marketing, and Customer Success teams to meet the increased demand for our products,” the Gideon Brothers team told The Recursive.
Adapting robots to the environment
Gideon Brothers was founded in 2017 by Croatian entrepreneurs Edin Kočo, Josip Ćesić, Kruno Stražanac, and Matija Kopić. The company was named as the fifth most successful autonomous robots producer for the cargo industry in the world by leading American market advisory firm ABI. In terms of technology, the hardware solutions of Gideon Brothers come hand in hand with software, responsible for the horizontal and vertical handling processes. Their range of solutions is most commonly used within the logistics and delivery industries.
The AI-based mobile robots of the company rely on 3D cameras and utilize deep learning algorithms to gather large amounts of data about the environment they are situated in. This data is then used by the machines so that they can self-localize, map their surroundings, navigate and perform simple tasks, such as weight-measuring, lifting, and transporting different goods. The company has additionally developed a “Follow Me” robot, which makes use of advanced visual perception to follow a person. Depending on how integrated the machine is with the warehouse systems, it can also guide people around a particular facility. The company is planning on expanding its portfolio of robots. While executing the international expansion, Gideon Brothers will be doubling its team to reach around 200 people by the end of 2021.
The Croatian tech startup scene
The Croatian tech startup ecosystem has remained active after it saw its first unicorn Infobip in 2020. According to Novac.hr, local tech companies have managed to attract more than $170M in the first three months of 2021. Among the larger deals is Porsche’s €70M investment into the Croatian electric hypercar producer Rimac Automobili. Another example is the Croatian-born edtech startup Photomath that raised a $23M Series B by US investor Menlo Ventures. The ecosystem also faced an exit as Croatian digital agency FIVE and its US subsidiary were acquired by international telecom services provider Endava.
“We genuinely believe in the potential for Croatia to become the next big thing in the field of AI-powered robotics. We have all the ingredients of what could become a significant ecosystem, starting with super productive and friendly research labs across our universities and a pretty good local/regional component supplier network. Also, let us not forget a thriving playground of unicorns and a digital nomad lifestyle in one of the most beautiful corners of the world. We believe mobile robots could do much more for us, especially for the people working in the world’s busiest industrial environments,” the Gideon Brothers team concluded.