The use of industrial robotics has been growing steadily since the 1960s when robotic-assisted automation was first introduced into manufacturing in the automotive industry. The advent of the internet and connected devices is now fueling a new uptick in robotic sales as applications are more sophisticated and specialized. Today’s environment with labor shortages, high labor costs, and decreasing hardware costs ensure that the future of manufacturing will be reliant on robotic automation. GrayMatter Robotics is a platform that powers smart robotic assistants that focus on specialized surface finishing tasks in manufacturing like sanding, polishing, and spraying. The platform serves as an operating system that seamlessly integrates with commercially available robots, sensors, and tools to give manufacturers the ability to introduce automation in a timely manner without friction, significant training, or excess cost. Founded in 2020, GrayMatter allows manufacturers to be flexible and more competitive at a time when manufacturing is slowly returning to the states.
LA TechWatch caught up with GrayMatter Robotics Cofounder and CEO Ariyan Kabir to learn more about the use of industrial robotics in manufacturing, the company’s strategic plans, recent round of funding, and much, much more.
Who were your investors and how much did you raise?
$4.1 million Seed round. Stage Venture Partners, Calibrate Ventures, 3M Ventures, OCA Ventures, Pathbreaker Ventures, and B Capital Group.
Tell us about your product or service.
Smart robotic assistants that help humans more safely and effectively do surface treatment tasks such as sanding and spraying on manufacturing lines.
It is shocking that millions of people still manually work on extremely tedious tasks that can be harmful to their health; younger generations do not want such jobs. We want to improve shop workers’ lives, enhance their productivity, and enable them to focus on higher-value tasks. Manufacturing drives our economy, and without automating surface finishing and treatment, there is a significant risk the global economy may suffer due to an increasing labor shortage.
How is it different?
GrayMatter has developed proprietary AI algorithms that enable industrial robots to program themselves. GrayMatter packages its software with commercially available robots, sensors, and tools to deliver smart robotic assistants to manufacturers for use in surface-finishing applications. GrayMatter-powered robots are intelligent and can learn to work on a new part they have never encountered before in a matter of minutes. The company’s turnkey robotic solutions help manufacturers grow capacity, maintain consistent quality, and keep a digital trace for improving operations.
What market you are targeting and how big is it?
Surface finishing and treatment in the manufacturing sector includes such applications as sanding, polishing, deburring, and spraying. In the US, it is more than a $100B market.
What’s your business model?
What are your post-COVID office plans?
As a robotics company, we need to work from the office.
What was the funding process like?
Our round was highly oversubscribed and we had to make some tough decisions to choose the right partners.
What are the biggest challenges that you faced while raising capital?
Identifying the investors who are interested in the robotics, automation, AI, and manufacturing space.
What are the milestones you plan to achieve in the next six months?
Scale up hiring, accelerate the development of next-generation products, and engage with a wider customer base.
What advice can you offer companies in Los Angeles that do not have a fresh injection of capital in the bank?
Reach out to other founders and learn what worked or did not work for them. Create a funnel of investors who are interested in your space.
Where do you see the company going now over the near term?
Be a humble and customer-focused company that provides the most value-added robotic automation solution for surface finishing and treatment applications.
What’s your favorite outdoor activity in LA?
Hiking, Skiing, Surfing.