Figure AI raised more than $650 million to commercialize humanoids

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Figure AI

Figure AI Inc. has confirmed its successful raising of $675 million for humanoid development. With this Series B financing, the Sunnyvale, California-based company has reached a valuation of $2.6 billion. Investors include technology and financial giants such as Microsoft, OpenAI Startup Fund, NVIDIA, Amazon Industrial Innovation Fund, Jeff Bezos through Bezos Expeditions, Parkway Venture Capital, Intel Capital, Align Ventures and ARK Invest, with Qatalyst Partners providing strategic and financial advice to Figure.

Since its stealth mode release in January 2023, Figure has followed an impressively fast path to market. Brett Adcock, co-founder of 2022 and a veteran of launching startups with two previous successful exits, argues that time to market and hiring the right people are critical to the success of any startup.

Figure AI’s plans

Figure AI plans to use the funding to expand its AI training, ramp up robot production, and hire the engineers needed to bring production units to market in the 2024-2025 timeframe. “Our vision at Figure is to introduce humanoid robots into commercial operations as soon as possible,” said Adcock. “This investment, combined with our partnership with OpenAI and Microsoft, ensures that we are well poised to introduce embodied AI to the world and generate a transformative impact on humanity. AI and robotics are the future, and I am grateful for the support of investors and partners who believe in being on the cutting edge.”.

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Before founding Figure AI, Adcock visited Aaron Ames’ AMBER bipedal robotics lab at Caltech, seeking advice on the feasibility of commercializing a humanoid robot. Ames, a pioneer in bipedal gait mechanics and a student of Marc Raibert, founder of Boston Dynamics, offered valuable insights for the project.

With the addition of industry veterans such as Jerry Pratt of the Institute for Human and Machine Cognition (IHMC) as chief technology officer, and a team of approximately 80 people, including experts from Boston Dynamics, Google DeepMind and Tesla, Figure has accelerated the development of its bipedal walker. Its stated goal is to create autonomous general-purpose humanoid robots to address labor shortages, hazardous or undesirable jobs, and global supply chain needs.

Figure AI will collaborate with OpenAI on the next generation of AI models for humanoids, combining OpenAI’s linguistic research with Figure’s robotic hardware and software expertise. “We always plan to return to robotics, and we see a path with Figure to explore what humanoid robots can accomplish when powered by highly capable multimodal models,” said Peter Welinder, vice president of product and partnerships at OpenAI.

Notably, Figure will use Microsoft Azure for AI, storage and server training. “We are excited to work with Figure to accelerate research in AI advancements.“, expressed Jon Tinter, corporate vice president of business development at Microsoft. “Through our joint work, Figure will have access to Microsoft’s AI infrastructure and services to support the deployment of humanoid robots to assist people in real-world applications.”.

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Photo: Figure