Yukai Engineering, Tokyo-based Robotic Startup, Secures 500M Yen ($4.6M USD) in Series A Funding

2020/3/5 News

Yukai Engineering, Tokyo-based Robotic Startup, Secures 500M Yen ($4.6M USD) in Series A Funding

Funding is expected to accelerate Yukai’s global reach with evocative robots

TOKYO (March 5, 2020) — Yukai Engineering, Inc. a Tokyo-based robotic startup known for creating robots that bring joy to life, has announced it has secured a total of 500 million Japanese yen (approx. $4.6 million USD) in series A funding.  The four investing entities that provided the funding are:
・Tokyo Gas Co., Ltd., the primary natural gas provider in the Tokyo area with 11.8 million customer

・FueTrek, Co., Ltd., an Osaka-based voice recognition technology developer
・Nippon Venture Capital (NVCC), one of the largest venture capital firms in Japan
・Energy & Environment Investment, Inc. (EEI), a Tokyo-based venture capital firm focused on the environmental and energy sectors

The announcement comes as Yukai aims to further expand its global prominence as the developer and manufacturer of its flagship family communication robot BOCCO, as well as Qoobo, a wildly popular tail-wagging therapeutic pillow. Founded in 2007 and incorporated as Yukai Engineering Inc. in 2011, Yukai has demonstrated its innovative ingenuity in creating robots that can enhance one’s emotional well-being and quality of life. Yukai has provided its technologies and know-how to various companies to help develop new business opportunities, including the use of BOCCO for Tokyo Gas’s senior care services. Yukai is expected to continue doing just that with Tokyo Gas and the other three series A investors. The company is also launching “kurikit,” a series of educational products and services that children and adults of all ages can use to learn robot making and programming while having fun. 

“We don’t make robots to analyze users’ emotional states. We believe the true purpose of communication robots is to evoke emotions in humans. The series A funding enables us to accelerate the development of BOCCO emo, a new generation BOCCO that can do an even better job at that, by using a cutting-edge VUI (voice user interface). By working with our investors as our new business partners, we will be able to create a new market for this type of family robot,” Yukai Engineering CEO Shunsuke Aoki said. “At Yukai Engineering, we consider a robot as a ‘machine that can move people’s minds.’ Robots can be personified to evoke such feelings as ‘happy’ and ‘lonely.’” 

Yukai’s interest in developing a new market for family robots reflects the results of multiple proofs of concepts that the company conducted with its business partners using BOCCO between 2018 and 2019. Participating users consistently noted that BOCCO quickly became an essential part of their family lives — the reason why Tokyo Gas decided to use BOCCO as a tool for its senior care and parenting services. With the global market for communication robots expected to reach 2 trillion yen (approx. $18.5 billion USD) by 2025 in Japan alone, according to the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization, Yukai decided to seek new strategic business alliances through a third-party allotment of new shares to more rapidly expand its market share with BOCCO. 

Yukai envisions striving toward IPO by using the secured funding to enhance its research and development, and the hiring and professional development of its employees. 

Additional information about Yukai Engineering and its products and services is available on its website. For more information about this press release, please email to contact_en@ux-xu.com, or call us at +81-3-6380-4710.