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Microsoft leads group pelting 'heavy duty' robot maker with $10.5m

Sarcos swaps cash for 4 board spots... that's going to end well

By Alexander J Martin, 13 Sep 2016

RotM Sarcos Robotics has received $10.5m in investment from Microsoft, Caterpillar and other backers.

Salt Lake City-based Sarcos, which has offices near Microsoft in Redmond, was founded 25 years ago. It was acquired by Raytheon in 2007 before being bought back by a consortium led by its former president at Raytheon.

Now, alongside Caterpillar Ventures and GE Ventures, Microsoft has put money into Sarcos, which has stated its hope that the funds help it bring its Guardian exoskeleton suit to market.

Earlier this year, Google's parent company Alphabet sought to flog its money-munching robotics arm, Boston Dynamics, because it was unlikely to produce any real revenue in the next few years.

Microsoft's investment in the industrial robotics firm doesn't seem to dispute this, with the Redmond folk reckoning the real money is to be made with the Internet of Things.

Kevin Dallas, Microsoft's corporate veep of IoT, stated: "Microsoft is committed to pioneering new, real world use-cases in Industrial IoT. We are excited about the collaboration with Sarcos and our customers around dexterous industrial robots for use in unstructured environments.

"Sarcos' Robot-as-a-Service offering, using Microsoft Cognitive Services, Azure IoT Suite, and Windows 10 IoT, creates a unique opportunity to fundamentally transform the safety and efficiency of many industrial tasks around the world," added Dallas.

The investment is a minuscule amount considering the real cost of research and production of the robot systems Sarcos is hoping to sell, and it comes at a high price for the robotics firm, which has accepted four new members to its board of directors.

Peter Klein, the former chief financial officer at Microsoft, arrives accompanied by Ray Quintana, General Partner of Cottonwood Technology Fund, Ralph Taylor-Smith, Managing Director of GE Ventures, and tech'n'telco investor Dennis Weibling. ®

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