Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Venture Capital is Pouring Money into Minimum Wage Law Defeating Robots

Venture capitalists poured $172 million into robotics startups last year, according to an annual survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP—nearly triple the $60 million two years earlier.

WSJ reports:
In the past, robots worked mostly on factory floors—often locked behind gates to keep them from smashing into people as they did their jobs. But new technologies, including sensors and wireless connections that allow robots to move around obstructions and even find their way around a busy hotel or office, have enabled robots to do more varied tasks as well as function alongside people.

Steve Cousins, chief executive and founder of Savioke in Santa Clara, Calif., says he saw a shift in sentiment among venture capitalists. “It was hard to find VC funding for robotics three years ago,” he says. “You had a lot of people who said, ‘We don’t do hardware, we do software.’”

Mr. Cousins’ company builds a robotic butler that hotels can use to shuttle items to guest rooms. It’s currently operating in one hotel in California but a host of other companies have expressed interest in the machines, Mr. Cousins says. Savioke raised $2.6 million earlier this year, above the target of $1.75 million to $2.5 million.

“For a long time, robots stopped at factories—and they were behind cages,” Mr. Cousins says. But much of the new investment is going into machines that are designed to operate close to people, like his hotel robot.
Some of this funding might have occurred without new higher minimum wages, but for certain many  businesses are looking at robots as a way to counter the cost of hiring a high cost minimum wage employee.

Be sure to watch this video:

1 comment:

  1. I guess this would have eventually happened anyway. But with the Federal, State and Local governments having a field day telling businesses how to spend their money, it just created an incentive to speed things up.