Robotics Startup Figure Secures $675 mn in VC Funding, Forges Collaboration with OpenAI

Robotics startup Figure has announced a VC funding round of $675 million, attracting investments from prominent entities including Nvidia, Microsoft, and Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos. This funding places Figure at a valuation of $2.6 billion.
VC funding for techFigure has unveiled a collaboration with OpenAI aimed at developing generative artificial intelligence for its humanoid robots. This partnership signifies a strategic move towards leveraging AI technology to enhance Figure’s robotic capabilities.

The launch of ChatGPT by OpenAI has sparked heightened interest in AI applications, prompting significant investments from companies seeking to capitalize on this trend. Notable contributors to the Figure funding round include OpenAI Startup Fund, Amazon Industrial Innovation Fund, Parkway Venture Capital, Intel Capital, Align Ventures, and ARK Invest.

Brett Adcock, Founder and CEO of Figure, outlined the company’s plans for utilizing the funding, which includes the development of large language models tailored for robotics, scaling up manufacturing operations, and expanding the team through new hires. Additionally, Figure intends to transition to Microsoft Azure for AI infrastructure and training, highlighting its commitment to leveraging cutting-edge technology platforms.

The AI models to be developed by Figure will be based on OpenAI’s latest GPT models, specifically trained on robotics actions data collected by Figure. This approach aims to empower humanoid robots to engage in conversations, perceive their environment, and execute physical tasks seamlessly.

“We’ve always planned to come back to robotics, and we see a path with Figure to explore what humanoid robots can achieve when powered by highly capable multimodal models,” stated Peter Welinder, Vice President of Product and Partnerships at OpenAI.

Investor interest in humanoid robots has surged in tandem with advancements in AI-powered software, which offers unprecedented possibilities for human-robot interaction and collaboration. Tesla CEO Elon Musk has predicted a future with a billion humanoid robots on Earth by the 2040s, further underscoring the potential of this technology.

Last month, Figure announced a partnership with BMW Manufacturing to deploy its humanoid robots in the automaker’s facility in the United States. This partnership signifies Figure’s continued expansion into diverse industry sectors.

Previously, Figure raised $70 million from investors led by Parkway Venture Capital in its first external funding round last year. This recent injection of capital marks a significant milestone in the company’s growth trajectory and underscores its position as a key player in the robotics industry.

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