Today, the bay area-based Rapid Robotics announced a $12 million Series A round led by NEA. This has brought the company’s total funding up to $17.5 million. Existing investors Greycroft, Bee Partners, and 468 Capital also took part in the round.
Impact of the pandemic on the workforce trends
During the pandemic, it was noticed that many “non-essential” workers were unable to travel to their jobs. Irrespective of the circumstances seen since 2020, there are “non-essential” jobs that require human involvement. For example, at present manufacturing jobs still lack the ability to be performed remotely. Hence, COVID-19 has had a sizable impact on robotics investment. At the very least, the pandemic has served to accelerate interest in automation.
Rapid’s USP and the fragile balance
Rapid tech has produced about 50 million parts since the past year, over a wide variety of different manufacturing verticals. And, similar to Trump’s idea of bringing manufacturing back to America, President Biden has already begun talking up strategies to return manufacturing jobs to the U.S. Of course, any such plan is going to have to be a balancing act between human jobs and automation.
The company sees the longstanding issue with human operators in these roles. CEO Jordan Kretchmer said in a release “If we don’t solve this problem, U.S. manufacturers will never be able to compete in a global market.”
Rapid’s main value add here is the ease of use. The company creates systems designed to get up and running quickly.