Less than two years after their market launch, fruitcore robotics’ robotic systems are already automating several hundred different applications in ten industries. The basis for this corporate success is the intelligent software and the innovative, high-performance industrial robots. In order to continue growing internationally, the company has raised 17 million euros in a Series A financing round. The capital comes from three internationally renowned venture capital firms: UVC Partners, btov Partners and CNB Capital.
Constance, Oct. 04, 2021 – The biggest hurdles of robot automation so far are the demanding programming, the resulting high total costs as well as the connection of all components involved in the automation process. This is where fruitcore robotics comes in. The Constance-based startup developed HORST (Highly Optimized Robotic Systems Technology), a robotic system that overcomes these hurdles using intelligent software and innovative mechatronics. The software maps the entire application via a digital twin. The powerful and inexpensive robot transfers the application 1:1 into reality.
Advantages through price, simplicity and flexibility
“SMEs need flexible systems with which applications can be realized easily and affordably. In addition to the robot, this requires above all easy-to-use software and intelligent interfaces,” explains Jens Riegger, CEO of fruitcore robotics. In line with these requirements, the Constance-based startup has rethought the entire robotic system and achieved several innovations in this field. With HORST, the deep-tech company has combined the advantages of collaborative and conventional systems: the performance of industrial robots with the ease of use of cobots and has been able to significantly reduce costs. Another major advantage for the user comes from the simple and intuitive operation of the robots, for which no programming knowledge is required. “Complex programming over the entire life of the robot results in high costs. In contrast, the user saves time and money thanks to the simple handling and associated flexibility of our robots. Economical automation is possible from as little as 1 piece and is therefore also practicable for SMEs,” says Patrick Heimburger, CFO of fruitcore robotics. HORST can be used across almost all sectors and industries: for loading and unloading machines, for stacking, sorting and packaging products, for handling turned, milled and stamped parts, but also for pick & place applications for small parts.
17 million euros venture capital
New impetus is now provided by the current Series A financing round of 17 million euros, led by the early-stage venture capital company UVC Partners and supplemented by both the btov Industrial Technologies Fund and the private investor network of btov Partners as well as CNB Capital (Constantia New Business GmbH), a European technology investor with long-term orientation. So far, fruitcore robotics has been accompanied by a business angel, who will continue to support the company. “fruitcore robotics has developed the best end-to-end solution in the robotics sector and it comes from a single source,” explains Benjamin Erhart from UVC Partners. Robert Gallenberger of btov Industrial Technologies Fund adds, “The integrated approach of hardware and software innovation coupled with the broad benefits for the customer makes fruitcore robotics a highly interesting investment for us.”
fruitcore robotics as a pioneer for smart automation solutions
With the new capital, the deep-tech company plans to expand its European presence and extend its digital services.” A robot alone cannot yet automate an application; it requires an intelligent linking of various components such as grippers, CNC systems or safety systems. With our software, we network these components more strongly than has been common in the industry to date, thereby making the entire application intuitively operable, digital, and even affordable,” says Jens Riegger. And he continues: “We have already taken the first step in this direction with the launch of our IoT platform horstCOSMOS.com.” Today, fruitcore’s systems already provide control of the entire robotic environment, seamlessly integrating the physical application onto a digital platform. In the future, extensions to the software and online platform will make numerous applications automatable via plug & play.
From research to robot
The five founders of fruitcore robotics, Jens Riegger, Patrick Heimburger, Tim Schmiedl, Manuel Frey and Tobias Kuentzle, are convinced that the HORST technology has the potential to make robotics accessible to a broad mass of people. fruitcore robotics originates from a spin-off of the HTWG Konstanz (Hochschule Konstanz Technik Wirtschaft und Gestaltung). After research work by Jens Riegger and Manuel Frey in the robotics field, the first HORST prototypes were produced in 2016. The team received the EXIST-Gründerstipendium for high startup projects, a startup funding from
the federal government and the EU, and founded fruitcore robotics GmbH in May 2017. Since then, the company has grown to more than 80 employees and two locations. In addition to the headquarters in Constance, a production site in Villingen-Schwenningen was opened in May 2020. fruitcore robotics develops and produces the HORST robot systems in Germany. The portfolio includes three robot models with reaches of 600, 900 and 1400 millimeters and payloads between 3 and 12 kilograms. Several hundred robots are already in use at customers from a wide range of industries in Europe.