University of Washington spinout WiBotic, which is building technology that wirelessly powers drones and other robotic devices, has raised $2.5 million in a new funding round.
The round is led by Tsing Capital, a Chinese fund management company, and includes investments from Comet Labs and Digi Labs as well as follow-on investments from W Fund, WRF Capital and Wisemont Capital. WiBotic, originally founded within the UW’s electrical engineering and computer science departments, will use the funds to enhance product development and beef up sales and marketing activities.
The round brings the 10-person company to a total of $3.25 million in funding. CEO Ben Waters, who spoke at a UW Innovation Summit in Shanghai in 2015 that GeekWire attended, founded WiBotic with UW professor Joshua Smith.
In addition to the funding announcement, WiBotic said it has moved into a new engineering and testing facility at UW’s CoMotion Labs incubator program. CoMotion supported the company when it was just getting off the ground.
The company says its product is more efficient than traditional plug-in charging technology because it allows drones and robots to charge autonomously, removing the need for human intervention while also increasing the lifetime of the battery itself. When a robot approaches, or when a drone lands near a WiBotic charger, the device automatically detects its presence and wirelessly charges the battery.
WiBotic, which came out of stealth mode last year, also offers battery management tools and fleet-level power optimization.
WiBotic customers range from companies in industries like agriculture and medical, to security, videography, and marine biology. The company sees the potential to add more customers in the future, as automation and robotics continue to advance. Last year, the company cited a study estimating that global spending on robotics and related services to grow to $135 billion by 2019.