Foxglove raises $15 million to build advanced robotics infrastructure • TechCrunch

Foxglove raises $15 million to build advanced robotics infrastructure • TechCrunch

foxgloveThe startup, a startup building a robotics infrastructure suite, announced today that it has raised $15 million in a Series 1 funding round led by Eclipse, with participation from Amplify Partners and angel investors including Cruise CEO Kyle Vogt. Revenues bring Foxglove’s total to $18.7 million, which CEO Adrian McNeil says is primarily directed at product development and expanding the company’s product engineering and sales teams.

McNeil previously led Infrastructure at Cruise, the GM-backed self-driving car company (hence Vogt), and was Coinbase’s first director of engineering. While at Cruise, McNeil said he saw firsthand the lack of ready-made tools for developing robots and autonomous vehicles; Cruise had to hire entire teams to build in-house tools, including applications for visualization, data management, artificial intelligence, machine learning, simulation, and more.

This inspired Foxglove, which started in early 2021 as a fork of Webviz, an open source web visualization project that Cruise released three years ago. After rewriting most of the code, adding support for various bot frameworks and creating complementary data logging and management tools, Roman Schelman, co-founder of Macneil and Foxglove (also a Cruise and Coinbase veteran), officially launched the company and platform.

“It’s incredibly inefficient and redundant for all robotics companies to build virtually identical in-house tools,” McNeil told TechCrunch by email. “To expand the robotics industry, we need to lower the barrier to success for robotics companies by creating high-quality turnkey solutions and free up robots to focus on industry-specific challenges.”

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Foxglove Cloud Suite. Image credits: foxglove

Foxglove creates cloud-based tools and libraries such as the open source MCAP, which provides a unified interface for companies to exchange data. As Macneil explained, bot data is unique. Most file formats are not suitable for storing data such as bitmaps, camera images, machine learning inferences, and control outputs.

“Before MCAP, many of our customers were literally inventing their own file formats to record data, which had predictable consequences when they tried to convert that data into standardized tools,” McNeil said. “Since then we have had some big names in the industry, like Anduril, adopting and contributing to this open source project.”

Recently, Foxglove released a rewritten 3D visualizer, which comes with features like a viewer that allows users to combine camera images and 3D models into the same scene. Looking ahead, McNeil says it aims to help customers simplify data loading operations from the field or remote facilities and improve Foxglove’s support for simulated data, a major sore point.

“The robotics industry is still in its infancy and doesn’t get as much attention as the broader AI industry – but great companies and huge opportunities are being built. The biggest challenge for the robotics industry is the lack of awareness,” McNeil said. In encryption for the first time. It was difficult to hire experienced technical people because it was a niche industry. Fortunately, we are seeing awareness accelerating rapidly as people realize the importance of problem solving.”

Foxglove claims to be “in an excellent cash position” and is growing fast, with an 8-fold increase in active users over the past year. The company, which operates entirely remotely with 19 employees in four countries, has more than 3,000 users on its cloud-based tools and enterprise clients, including Nvidia and 6 River Systems.

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