Academy of Robotics has raised £292,930 on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube to continue development of its driverless delivery vehicle Kar-Go.
The pod-shaped AI-controlled vehicle is designed to deliver packages to multiple addresses in residential areas.
Academy of Robotics aims to develop two street-legal delivery vehicles to test on the road with retailers by the end of 2017, and hopes to raise a Series-A investment round in 2018 to support a larger roll out and paid trials.
The founder and CEO of the Aberystwyth-based startup, Pasi William Sachiti, is a serial entrepreneur with three company exits under his belt. His startup MyCityVenue, an AI-driven experiences platform serving 1.6 million users, was acquired in 2014 by Secret Escapes.
“A lot of people and companies have worked together to bring this concept to life and this fundraising is an all important big step,” Sachiti said of the Crowdcube round.
The company fell slightly shy of its £300,000 target, but secured 268 investors in exchange for 15.38% equity.
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Sachiti went on to say the funds are primarily to be used to build the vehicles for the firm’s initial street-legal prototypes.
“These vehicles will be used for on-the-road trials with retailers in 2018 and the rest of the money will be used to create a support structure around those live trials,” he added.
The CEO claims a large tech company promised to invest in Academy of Robotics, provided the firm could raise at least £250,000 in the UK, which is why he chose the crowdfunding route.
“We chose Crowdcube based on historic data. For a startup like us, it makes more sense to get a bunch of business Angels to come in under one set of terms from a company such as Crowdcube. Fund raising publicly has its disadvantages compared to raising through VCs, but thanks to SEIS and EIS, set up by the government, it made equity crowdfunding from business Angels a more appealing option for us, for this round in particular,” he explained.
“Kar-Go will change the way the world sends and receive packages, 2018 will be an exciting year and we can’t wait to get started,” Sachiti concluded.