The promise of STEAM robots, which should increase children’s interest in science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics (STEAM), has been around for years. The market is teeming with the products of hardcore robotics scientists and their imitators. Many have disappeared, but investor interest has not waned, at least not for one company coming out of China.
Keyi Technology, known for its modular, cycloptic robot ClicBot, has just raised “tens of millions of dollars” in a new round of funding. Powered by Blockly, Google’s drag-and-drop visual programming language, ClicBot claims it can be designed in thousands of different ways.
The lead investor in the funding round was Anker, the China-US-based battery and charging giant with a current market cap of 27 billion yuan ($4 billion). Other investors included Xiaomi, Xiaomi founder Lei Jun’s Shunwei Capital, and BlueRun Ventures China, the Silicon Valley fledgling investor entering China. in the 2000s†
Asked for details of his investment portfolio, Anker declined to comment. It also didn’t answer a question about possible collaborations between Keyi and herself.
Keyi’s new financing comes at a time when inflation is rising The United States and Europe hits the consumer’s hunger for technical devices and other goods. But Keyi, which generates 60% of its revenues outside of China, sees “significant growth” in the global smart toy market thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has pushed millions of children to learn from home. And like his colleagues, Keyi is enjoying a growing demand for his educational robots.
The company shipped more than 10,000 packages with ClicBot last year, growing more than 300% year-on-year, though it hasn’t turned profitable, marketing chief Chen Peng told gotechbusiness.com. A new product is expected to hit the market in September.
The pandemic also presents Keyi with challenges as COVID lockdowns and an uptick in global trade put pressure on the global shipping system. “Inflation and COVID-19 have certainly had some impact on our shipping rates and there is no question that we are at risk of a drop in profit margin, especially as we are an international e-commerce company,” Peng tells gotechbusiness.com.