Skild AI secures USD 300Mln in series A funding

Skild AI is building a scalable foundation model for robotics that serves as a shared, general-purpose brain across diverse robot embodiments and a variety of real-worl
Skild AI is building a scalable foundation model for robotics that serves as a shared, general-purpose brain across diverse robot embodiments and a variety of real-world applications.

Skild AI, an AI robotics company building a scalable foundation model for robotics, recently announced it has closed a $300M Series A funding round. The round was led by Lightspeed Venture Partners, Coatue, SoftBank Group, and Jeff Bezos (through Bezos Expeditions), with participation from Felicis Ventures, Sequoia, Menlo Ventures, General Catalyst, CRV, Amazon, SV Angel, and Carnegie Mellon University. The funding brings the company to a valuation of $1.5B.

Skild AI is building intelligence that is grounded in the physical world. The company is breaking the data barrier in robotics, training its model on at least 1,000X more data points than competing models. As opposed to vertically designed robots that are built for specific applications, Skild’s model serves as a shared, general-purpose brain for a diverse embodiment of robots, scenarios and tasks, including manipulation, locomotion and navigation. From resilient quadrupeds mastering adverse physical conditions, to vision-based humanoids performing dexterous manipulation of objects for complex household and industrial tasks, the company’s model will enable the use of low-cost robots across a broad range of industries and applications.

“The large-scale model we are building demonstrates unparalleled generalization and emergent capabilities across robots and tasks, providing significant potential for automation within real-world environments,” said Deepak Pathak, CEO and Co-Founder of Skild AI. “We believe Skild AI represents a step change in how robotics will be scaled, and has the potential to change the entire physical economy.”

Skild AI

In contrast to existing robotic applications where robots are deployed in isolated or constrained environments, Skild’s general-purpose AI model makes any kind of robot agile, dexterous, and safe to interact with people. There is a massive labor shortage in America today, with more than 1.7 million jobs available than there are unemployed workers (Source: U.S. Chamber of Commerce). Industries such as healthcare, construction, warehousing and manufacturing are among the most impacted; experts project there will be 2.1 million unfulfilled manufacturing jobs by 2030 (Source: National Association of Manufacturers). Additionally, many of these jobs can be dangerous for humans, such as oil rigs and machine rooms. Skild’s model enables robots to adapt and perform novel tasks alongside humans, or in dangerous settings, instead of humans.

“With general purpose robots that can safely perform any automated task, in any environment, and with any type of embodiment, we can expand the capabilities of robots, democratize their cost, and support the severely understaffed labor market,” said Abhinav Gupta, President and Co-Founder of Skild AI.

“Skild AI has achieved massive breakthroughs in a short period, and we believe they’re a one-of-a-kind company that could redefine our notions of what machines are capable of,” said Raviraj Jain, Partner, Lightspeed Venture Partners. “Deepak and Abhinav have been catalysts of advancements in robotics, and their innovation around leveraging the core principles of foundation models into the real world puts the industry on the path of general purpose robotics.”

“A GPT-3 moment is coming to the world of robotics,” said Stephanie Zhan, Partner, Sequoia Capital. “It will spark a monumental shift that brings advancements similar to what we’ve seen in the world of digital intelligence, to the physical world. Since partnering with Skild AI at the seed round, I have deep conviction that they are the team to pursue one of the most ambitious visions of our era.”

Gupta and Pathak have been Carnegie Mellon University professors with a combined 25 years of experience between them in robotics and AI, and they have been credited for numerous industry breakthroughs such as self-supervised robotics, curiosity-driven agents, and adaptive robot learning. Together, they have a 150+ h-index, over 90k citations, and have received multiple awards for their work. The Skild AI team includes robotics and AI experts from Meta, Tesla, Nvidia, Amazon, Google, and the top schools including Carnegie Mellon University, Stanford, and UC Berkeley.

“Skild AI has a truly scalable approach to building foundational models for robot manipulation and locomotion. Coatue is thrilled to back their effort to revolutionize robotics, shifting from pre-programmed to dynamic, adaptable robots,” said Sri Viswanath, General Partner at Coatue and former CTO of Atlassian. “With Skild’s technology, there is potential to disrupt today’s physical economy, bringing robots to hazardous jobs such as in machine rooms, containments, etc., and to sectors suffering huge labor shortages such as in security and hospitals.”

The capital will be used to continue scaling the company’s model and training datasets for future commercial deployment of its technology, in addition to hiring for roles across AI, robotics, engineering, operations, and security.

Skild AI’s long-term goal is to develop artificial general intelligence (AGI) rooted in the physical world, challenging the popular notion that AGI can solely arise from digital knowledge.

Source

World Business Outlooks Awards 2024

RELATED ARTICLES

Recent News