News and Blog
Q-Bot, Our Robotics Portfolio Company, Secures New Investment
EcoMachines Ventures, the specialist investor in energy and industrial high-tech companies, announces that Q-Bot Ltd., its robotics portfolio company, has secured follow-on investment from several angel groups to ramp up its robotics technology platform for the construction and energy sectors. The equity investment brings total funding secured since late 2015 to approximately £2m, including financing from the EU Commission Horizon 2020 Programme. This new round of investment will allow Q-Bot to deliver the benefits of warmer, more energy efficient homes to a greater number of customers and help the company scale up growth.
Q-Bot is a leading UK robotics provider specialising in the construction and energy industry deploying robotic solutions for the construction, maintenance, and upgrade of buildings and industrial assets. These intelligent tools allow workers to remotely inspect and carry out a range of operations in hard to reach areas, such as crawl spaces, at height, or where there are other hazards, making human access undesirable. The robots can survey these spaces, building a detailed 3D map, gather environmental conditions, identify and locate services, faults and other hazards in order to plan servicing and maintenance. The robots can also carry out a range of operations including applying treatments such as insulation, protective finishes and other measures.
Q-Bot's initial focus is to use a robot to apply insulation in under floor voids in the 18 million homes in Northern Europe with suspended floors. The service transforms inefficient, cold and draughty homes into warm and cosy places in which to live and work. Q-Bot's service is a fraction of the cost, time, disruption and hassle of traditional methods while reducing energy bills by hundreds of pounds. It dramatically reduces fuel poverty at a much lower cost than traditional retrofit measures and has resulted in Q-Bot acquiring significant clients in the social housing sector, including Camden Council, Cardiff City Council, CityWest Homes, Islington Council and Peabody.
The investment round was led by impact investing specialist, ClearlySo, along with Wroxhall, Minerva and Curious Capital. Matthew Vickerstaff, ClearlySo's Head of Investment Banking commented, "Our investor network, Clearly Social Angels, was pleased to invest in Q-Bot; a company that encapsulates so many aspects of what is important to us - improving people's living conditions with a clever, cost-effective solution that the Housing Associations want to buy - led by a professional management team."
Matthew Holloway, CEO & Co-Founder: "The construction industry still relies on many labour intensive processes which have not changed for 100's of years. Our vision is to create intelligent tools that empower people, upskilling the workforce, creating new jobs, making the operation safer, more productive and rewarding. We have built a great team, proven the technology works, demonstrated that customer's value our offer, and we are now working with partners to scale this innovative new service across the UK, France and further afield. This investment provides a step change in our approach, whilst validating the potential of the business to transform the construction and energy industry into a multi-billion pound market."
Q-Bot's COO & Co-Founder, Tom Lipinski, said: "People seem to treat robotic technologies as a threat - our robots are intelligent tools that enable us to bring immediate benefits to: customers (warmer, more energy efficient homes without the usual disruption and eye watering costs), workers (we let the robot crawl under the floor and spray insulation whilst controlling it remotely), and the environment (less damage to homes, no construction waste, and lower energy use). We expand human capabilities - improving lives, reducing energy costs and helping the environment - all at an acceptable price."
EcoMachines Ventures' original investment in Q-Bot was made in May 2014 and sits firmly within its investment focus covering the Energy, Transport, Smart City, Circular Economy and Industrial High-Tech sectors. Dr. Ilian Iliev, CEO of EcoMachines Ventures commented: "We are at the early stages of a transformation in the building and infrastructure industries, a game-changing development that will see the use of collaborative semi-autonomous robots to assist us in a range of tasks too dangerous, time-consuming or expensive for humans alone to perform. We have invested in Q-Bot because of the enormous potential of the company to be a leader in this sector. The team has the expertise, dedication and drive to grow a successful company."
Q-Bot is one of seven investments made so far by EcoMachines Ventures, the most recent being PointGrab, an electronics company developing innovative hardware and software for the building automation 'Internet of Things' (IoT) device market, and was completed in December 2015.