On Wednesday, May 25, Zoho corporation stated it had invested Rs. 20 crore in robotics startup Genrobotics, an Anand Mahindra-backed company. As one of India’s oldest software-as-a-service (SaaS) companies, Zoho is funding the investment with the use of its services. Genrobotics mainly manufactures robotic scavengers, and is additionally backed by Unicorn India Venture, SEA Group and others.
Essentially, this investment would aid the startup in scaling its manufacturing capabilities, resultantly reducing manual scavenging in India. Zoho stated how ‘robotic scavenging provides safety and dignity’ to the workers in the industries of sanitation, oil and gas. Genrobotics was founded by Vimal Govind, Arun George, Rashid K and Nikhil NP in the year 2017. Primarily, the startup’s offering is the Bandicoot robot, which they claim is the first robotic scavenger of the world.
Essentially, this robot aids in the cleaning of confined spaces like sewer wells and manholes, storm water manholes and storm water sewers (SWS), along oily water sewers (OWS) in refineries. They are designed to mimic human movements by the means of artificial intelligence (AI). Through this, they use their legs, several sensors and cameras to get into manholes, moving around and get stability in various terrains. Moreover, its multipurpose robotic arm can carry out actions like picking, shovelling, grabbing and water-jet positioning needed for all kinds of cleaning.
Bandicoot robots are given the provision of sensor to detect poisonous gasses, along with a specially-designed four-IP68 night vision camera providing visuals. Mainly, these visuals are those of the confined space through the user interface placed safely above the manhole for the safety of the workers. Smart cities, multinational companies (MNCs), Urban Local Bodies, and others are presently leveraging these robots, eliminating human entry into manholes.
“In order to end manual scavenging in India, more than one lakh robots will be required,” said Govind, co-founder and CEO, Genrobotics.
Govind went on to state how they are estimating the creation of almost 5 lakh jobs in India, along with this investment aiding them to expand their ‘advanced research and developments,’ and other additions. Moreover, the startup also stepped into healthcare recently, launching a robot-assisted gait training solution called G Gaiter. This is to help in the recovery of individuals with paraplegia through improved rehabilitation facilities.
Notably, this is not the first investment in the deep tech that Zoho has stepped into. Previously, Zoho has invested in startups in these field such as VoxelGrid, SignalChip, vTitan, Ultraviolette Automative, along with others. In 2021, the company went on to announce its investment in R&D for manufacture of capital goods across Tamil Nadu’s Kongu belt.