Lymow (来牟科技), a lawn mowing robot developer, has bagged tens of millions of yuan from an angel round of funding early this year, tech media outlet 36Kr reported today.
The fundraiser was backed solely by NBT Capital. Exactly why the company chose to delay the news remains a mystery.
Previously, Lymow received its seed funds from XBotPark, a robot-focused venture fund set up by Professor Li Zexiang, the mentor of DJI’s founder Frank Wang.
Proceeds from the latest round will be spent on preparation for the mass production of Lymow’s product, market exploration and team-building.
Notably, Gao Wangshu, founder and CEO of Lymow, graduated from HKUST, where Li teaches, and was a co-founder of Narwal (云鲸智能), a robot vacuum maker also incubated by XBotPark.
According to market intelligence, priced at US$2,000 to US$3,000, lawn mowing robots amount to a market value of US$30 billion.
Still in its infancy
Lured by the lucrative market prospects, many legacy brands, robotic startups and accessory manufacturers have entered the segment and from there, ventured into the wider yard robot space.
Despite the intense competition, Gao of Lymow believes that the sector is still in its infancy, and is devoid of a brand marked by technical innovation, deep know-how of the application scenario, and mass-delivery capability.
According to him, Lymow Rhino, the first-ever product by his startup, will target three types of up-and-middle-class consumers: programmers, geeks and high-earners.
“To make a robotic lawn mower, one has to return to the basics of lawn mowing, which starts with cutting grass with stability and efficiency,” said Gao. “This should come before intelligence and brand culture.”
Fusion of technologies
To help the robot better navigate users’ courtyards and lawns, Lymow chooses to combine visual technology, real-time kinematics, and inertial navigation.
In Gao’s opinion, this fusion of technologies will become the norm in the industry, since each of these solutions has its limitations but when multiple sensors come together, they can give the robotic mower enhanced operational stability.
Image credit: Unsplash
Gao plans to make North America the first step in the company’s efforts to go global, where the average user’s lawn covers an area of between 200 and 8,000 sqm.
To enable the robot mower to navigate often uneven terrain stably and effortlessly, Lymow equips it not with the conventional wheels, but with tracks.
Gao said this design prevents blades of the robot from getting caught up by shorn grass.
In the meantime, it improves the robot’s traction, allowing it to climb up a slope and over obstacles.
Quick fixes of glitches
A veteran of the cleaning robot industry, Gao said he hopes to replicate his experience in mass production of robot vacuums to lawn care robotics.
With this goal in mind, he added it is important for the team to build an agile R&D system and processes that stand out for quick fixes of technical glitches.
Currently at the preparatory stage, Lymow looks to roll out a small batch of its Rhino series abroad early next year.
What’s more, it also plans to branch out into other scenarios pertinent to lawn or yard care, such as gathering trimmed grass, in an effort to upgrade product functionality.