Cornerstone Robotics (康诺思腾), a Chinese startup making laparoscopic surgical robot, has bagged 800 million yuan (US$110 million) in a Series C financing round.
The round roped in new investors BridgeOne Capital and Lenovo Capital. Existing shareholders Tsing Song Capital, DragonBall Capital, Qiming Venture Partners, Lilly Asia Ventures, New World Development Company and K2VC also poured money into the round.
Proceeds from Series C will be spent on new product R&D, clinical trial, registration and global marketing.
Founded in September 2019, Shenzhen-based Cornerstone specializes in building laparoscopic surgical robots with independent core technologies in mechanical architecture, electrical structure, software architecture, complex algorithms and visual imaging system.
The startup also has soft tissue and other specialized surgical robot products in its pipelines.
In 2022, Cornerstone put its first-generation multi-incision laparoscopic surgical robot to clinical trial on patients. The company benchmarks it against the world-famous da Vinci system from Intuitive Surgical, and will apply for medical equipment certificates worldwide.
Multi-port laparoscopic robot is widely adopted in surgical procedures by urological, gynecological, general surgical, thoracic departments at hospitals.
Surgeons use it to assist in operations on prostrate, kidney, uterus, stomach, intestine, liver, gallbladder, lungs, heart and ear, nose and throat.
Operations like these tend to be complicated and require precision and rich experience on the part of presiding doctors.
Ou Guowei, founder and CEO of Cornerstone, is an MIT alumnus and worked at Intuitive Surgical before he returned to teach as a university professor in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.
Ou said earlier that the firm had begun to globalize its operations at the time of its founding. It has subsidiaries in Shenzhen, Beijing, Hong Kong and the US, and chose to build a factory in Shenzhen for mass production.
“In the space of three years, Cornerstone … developed and mass produced the hardware-software surgical robot platform and a whole suite of core parts, breaking foreign technological monopoly and exhibiting its fundamental research and commercialization capacity,” BridgeOne Capital, a major investor in this round, says in a statement.
Globally, the surgical robot market is forecast to grow at a CAGR of 27.1% from 2021 to US$28.51 billion in 2025. By 2030, the market size is projected to hit US$61.9 billion, according to market information.
As minimally invasive robot-assisted surgeries gain momentum across the world, China’s homegrown surgical robot startups are riding the wave of surging demand.
A host of them have arrived on the scene over the years, with comparable technologies sometimes touted as “China’s da Vinci.”