Autonomous mobility startup Ottonomy has raised $3.3 million in a seed round led by Pi Ventures with participation from Connetic Ventures, Branded Hospitality Ventures and Sangeet Kumar of Addverb Technologies.
Other angel investors from the US, India, Singapore, the Middle East and Europe also participated in the round.
The startup will use the funding to expand production and strengthen its presence in North America, Europe and the Middle East. It will also use the proceeds to increase recruitment in key industries in India and the US.
Founded in 2020, by Ritukar Vijay, Ashish Gupta, Hardik Sharma and Pradyot KVN Ottonomy, build autonomous robotic fleets focused mainly on contactless delivery. The startup recently raised $1.5 million in seed funding.
The startup’s offering, Ottobots, creates a digital map of a serviceable area and then autonomously navigates the area to deliver orders. The startup is deploying its proprietary contextual mobile navigation software in Ottobot to make it work in crowded and unpredictable environments.
Ritukar Vijay, Founder of Ottonomy, said, “As part of the industry, we realized that autonomous technologies should solve real problems. And this problem has come in the form of last mile deliveries as they are the most expensive part of the supply chain.”
He further said, “The Covid-19 pandemic compounded the labour shortage, and that’s when the team sat down to work and develop the idea. Our hypothesis is in the range where we can break even pretty quickly, based on whatever cost savings we have to make. Our intention is to make sure we don’t produce more robots than necessary.”
Roopan Aulakh, CEO of Pi Ventures, said, “Ottobots are equipped with a sophisticated technology stack at both the hardware and AI levels. The founding team here brings years of experience in multifunctional robotics, which is reflected in the world-class product it has created and brought to market. We are very pleased to make our first investment in robotics and could not have asked for a better team to work with.”
Vijay stated the founders built the prototypes in their guest rooms and the first minimum viable product was born during the lockdown. Ottonomy conducted a trial run with Snapdeal in December 2020 and then deployed the product at Cincinnati International Airport.
The startup primarily focuses on deploying its robots in airports, the e-commerce space, and food and beverage (F&B) restaurants. So far, the robots have been deployed in many countries, including the US, Canada, Europe and others.
Once a customer orders food online, the restaurant can load the robot with food, which it can then deliver through several gates. A user can scan a QR code on the robot to receive a delivery.
Aim for Break-Even.
The Robot-as-a-Service (RaaS) startup claims to make its products available to its customers on a monthly subscription basis.
Ottonomy signs a 24-month contract with companies to deploy its robots. It offers standardized robots that have “multiple use cases”, although customizations are available in certain cases, such as requirements for transporting perishable items.
The CEO declined to name the startup’s clients, other than the Cincinnati airport. Vijay also said that the startup is currently in talks with “the largest retailers in the US” and is looking to launch at an international airport in Europe.
Most deep tech startups are plagued by a lot of problems, including high capital expenditures and a shortage of semiconductors. However, Vijay tried to allay these concerns.
On the issue of semiconductor shortages, he said Ottonomy has multiple vendors in different countries to help mitigate supply chain risks.
He further informed that the startup does not intend to sell or monetize the data collected from various sources and that it complies with local data and privacy regimes.