Pioneering company allocates at least £1m of new £20m fundraising round to crowd-funding platform, offering public the chance to invest in advanced self-driving technology

Autonomous vehicle and robotic technology firm Academy of Robotics has today announced the official launch of a £20m pre-series A fundraising round, including an opportunity for the public to invest directly in the firm.

The company is a player in the nascent market for autonomous technologies that can used for last-mile logistics, having developed its first autonomous vehicle (AV), the Kar-go Delivery Bot, using proceeds from an initial crowdfunding round in 2017.

The company said it has successfully proved its complete self-driving delivery technology in road trials with the Royal Air Force (RAF) in September 2021 that focused on providing last-mile airbase logistics Brize Norton air base in Oxfordshire.

The Kar-go Delivery Bots have also been certified as roadworthy by the DVLA, enabling trials in Hounslow, Surrey, and South London. 

The company said that in the first Hounslow road trials, the company used its technology to deliver medicines during the pandemic and it is now working on further developments in medical logistics.

As such the company is now ramping up its £20m investment round, having already secured a £1m investment and a further £1m in match-funding through the UK government’s Future Fund scheme.

With the first £2m secured, the company said it has now allocated at least £1m of the total pre-series A fundraise to retail investors using the Crowdcube platform, making it the first British AV company to launch a pre-series A fundraise on Crowdcube.

The pre-series A funding will be used to scale-up production of the company’s electric AV technology, including through a new factory and test-track facility at a rural location in the East of England, which is expected to create at least 100 new jobs by 2023, including skilled work and technological development opportunities.

“Having achieved so much since our last fundraise, we are excited to launch our next round, offering the community of individual investors a chance to participate in the high-growth autonomous vehicle and robotic technology space in the UK,” said William Sachiti, CEO and founder of Academy of Robotics. “As we support the UK competing for its rightful share of the global AV sector, we can, at the same time, alleviate some of society’s challenges, including supply chain pressures and air pollution.

“The UK government’s Future Fund investment has provided us with a valuable funding injection following a challenging couple of years for high-growth technology start-ups, which will allow us to make the critical investments we need to scale to the next level at pace and stay ahead in this highly competitive, fast-moving autonomous vehicle space.”

The latest milestone was welcomed by Minister for Investment, Lord Grimstone, who said it underscored the UK’s position as “a world leader in the development of automated vehicles”. “Today’s announcement demonstrates our commitment to encouraging the growth of high potential British technology companies, and I look forward to seeing Academy of Robotics go from strength to strength as we build back better,” he added.

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