China’s CowaRobot, creator of suitcase that follows its owner, raises $21.2m in Series B

Photo from CowaRobot's social media page.

Chinese robotics firm CowaRobot, creator of a smart suitcase that automatically follows its owners, has raised Rmb135 million ($21.2 million) to finance further research and investments in autonomous driving technology.

According to a China Money Network report, CowaRobot’s Series B funding round was co-led by SoftBank China Venture Capital and China Creation Ventures. Infore Investment Holding Group, Orca M&A Capital, and Minsheng Investment Group also participated in the round, which was CowaRobot’s third round of financing.

CowaRobot has invented a smart luggage that enables owners to move around airport terminals and other places without lifting or dragging their suitcases. The luggage follows its owners, just like what pet puppies do, and can sense and understand the obstacles in its operating environments.

The company also addresses travellers’ concerns of lost or misplaced luggage by embedding mobile technology that allows owners to locate the bag using their mobile phone and then direct it to a certain location.

The robotic luggage also comes with an app that lets users control smart locks, record and share their luggage’s travelling path, among others.

“The smart suitcase frees your hands and stays with you autonomously, making travel much more high-tech and enjoyable,” the company said in an earlier statement. CowaRobot currently ships an average of about 2,000 smart luggage a month.

CowaRobot was founded in 2015 by He Tao, a former engineer at Japanese robotics firm HiBo. He completed his PhD in mechanical engineering from Japan Institute of Technology.

Aside from the smart suitcase, CowaRobot also designs robots for street cleaning and logistics and is expanding its research and development capabilities in autonomous driving technologies.

China has been boosting efforts to keep pace with the US in the bid to become the global leader in autonomous driving technology by ramping up investments in the sector.

Last week, Roadstar.ai, a Shenzhen-based AI-powered self-driving technology startup founded by former Google and Tesla engineers, announced that it has raised $128 million in a Series A funding round, the biggest-ever investment made into a Chinese startup in the country’s autonomous driving industry.

Roadstar.ai’s latest funding amount exceeds that of Pony.ai, another self-driving car startup, which pocketed $112 million in its Series A round led by two venture firms, Morningside Venture Capital and Legend.

Also Read:

China’s NIO, Horizon Robotics gains fundraising momentum in car tech push

Chinese self-driving tech startup Roadstar.ai raises industry record funding of $128m

Singapore Reporter/s

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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.