Chinese Industrial Robot Maker Completes $14M Series B Round

Chinese industrial robot maker CRP Robot has raised nearly RMB100 million (US$14.4 million) in a series B round of financing led by a fund under Shanghai Grand Yangtze Capitlal.

A Chinese listed firm also participated in this round. Proceeds of this round will be used for technology development and industry expansion.

This follows the company raised nearly RMB200 million in two rounds of financing from Northern Light Venture Capital and Suzhou Xingfu Capital.

Founded in 2012, CRP Robot initially produced robot controllers, and then began to develop robots in 2017. It launched complete robot products in 2019. Its robots mainly serve small and medium-sized manufacturers in industrial sub-segments such as welding, stamping and handling. The company sold 1,500 robots in 2019, with a total revenue of RMB120 million. It is estimated that the sales of robots will reach 3000 in 2020.

Industrial robots have been applied in automotive and 3C manufacturing fields for many years. However, in some subdivisions of general industries, such as metal thermoforming, agricultural machinery, hardware and furniture, the penetration of robots is not high. With the decline of demographic dividend and the increase in quality requirements of industrial upgrading, the efficiency and quality improvement brought by robots are gradually recognized. According to Li Liangjun, founder of CRP Robot, the salary of a welder is about RMB8,000(US$1,100) /month, and the price of a robot is RMB80,000, but the monthly workload of a robot is 1.5 times that of a human worker.

A robot has six core components, namely the three major electronic components (controller, driver and sensor) and the three mechanical components (RV reducer, servo motor and harmonic reducer). Among them, the controller is called the "brain" of a robot, and it is also a key component that determines the performance of a robot. In 2018, the market share of CRP controllers in Chinese industrial robots reached 50%. However, due to the large impact of controllers on robot performance, major robot manufacturers have gradually begun to independently develop controllers. Therefore, CRP Robot began to expand its product line, developed components such as drivers and sensors, and launched robots.

The Chengdu-based robot maker has mainly cooperated with regional integrators. In addition to providing standardized solutions, it also develops special applications according to individual needs, such as welding laser tracking, 3D visual technology-based loading and unloading, etc.

The annual income of small and medium-sized manufacturers served by CRP Robot is generally over RMB10 million. Due to constraints in production line and investment capacity, these customers mainly purchase one or two robots. Its founder Mr Li claimed that if the final price of a CRP robot is RMB80,000 ~RMB100,000, the customer’s investment recovery period is 1-1.5 years, while that of similar foreign products is often more than 3 years.

The company’s founding team has rich experience in development of robots, CNC systems and step drivers. They will expand product categories based on weight bearing, working radius, movement efficiency and accuracy, and gradually develop medium and large-sized customers.