Robotics Startup Company Refraction AI Raises $4.2 Million

By McKenzie Carpenter Monday, March 8, 2021

Self-driving robot driving in a city.

AI technology is integrating its way into many different industries, and grocery delivery is just one of them. Refraction AI, an Ann Arbor-based robotics startup company, announced Monday that the AI business raised $4.2 million in funding.

About the AI Robotics Business

Refraction AI is a robotics startup company that uses AI technology to create last-mile delivery robots for goods from places like restaurants, pharmacies, and grocery stores. The startup company is based out of Ann Arbor, Michigan, and was founded by Matthew Johnson-Roberson and Ram Vasudevan in 2019.

The REV-1 is the first robot created by the AI robotics business. According to the startup company website, the REV-1 robot is able to operate in both car and bike lanes due to its compact design without impeding traffic. Additionally, it has a shorter stopping distance since the top speed maxes out at 15 miles per hour, and it was designed to operate in all weather conditions.

There are currently 25 robots in operation around Ann Arbor for Refraction AI. In October 2020, the AI business named a new CEO, Luke Schneider, who has previous experience with mobility technology.

On Monday, the AI business announced that it had raised $4.2 million in a seed round. The funding was led by Pillar VC. Other investors in the robotics business include Trucks Venture Capital, Alumni Ventures Group, and Invest Michigan, among others.

Jamie Goldstein, founder and partner at Pillar VC, said of the investment, “With a tremendous potential to impact the future of last-mile goods delivery, Refraction AI is incredibly well-positioned because their solution is up and running today...We believe Refraction AI will create the de facto standard for this rapidly-expanding category; the combination of technology, momentum and leadership makes the company poised to break down barriers to AV for any business, which in turn increases access to goods for households that need them.”

With the new funding, the startup company plans to expand operations out of Ann Arbor, although no additional locations have been announced.

Other Delivery Robots

Delivery robots that use AI or remote technology are popping up more and more around the world. In February, Startup Savant reported about a new AI robot from Future Acres that helps transport crops to increase overall farm productivity. Additionally, it was reported that a new food delivery startup company, Serve Robotics from the Postmates division at Uber, uses remote technology to transport food.

These are just a couple of companies looking to make an impact on the robotics industry. According to Allied Market Research, the global autonomous last-mile delivery market is expected to reach $84.72 billion by 2030 — a CAGR of 24.4%.

About the Author


Headshot of McKenzie Carpenter

McKenzie Carpenter is a graduate of Central Michigan University with a B.A.A. in Integrative Public Relations and French. McKenzie has previously worked for small businesses and nonprofit organizations.

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