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AI-focused manufacturing startup raises $106 million, from Nvidia and others

By Thomson Reuters Jun 25, 2024 | 8:04 AM

By Max A. Cherney

(Reuters) – Software and robotics startup Bright Machines raised $106 million in a Series C funding round that included Nvidia and Microsoft as investors, the company said on Tuesday.

The San Francisco-based company makes equipment and software that helps automate a range of manufacturing tasks through the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Other investors in the Series C funding round included venture capital firm Eclipse Ventures, robotics maker Jabil and BlackRock. Bright Machines raised $20 million in debt from J.P. Morgan as well.

Bright Machines plans to deploy nearly all of the cash it raised toward its engineering effort, which is working on robotics, computer vision and other automation problems, CEO Lior Susan said in an interview.

The cash will help introduce “a faster and better version of our platform,” Susan said.

The company’s goal is to eventually allow an engineer to design a product inside of the Bright Machines environment and “press a button” to have a robotic system thousands of miles away manufacture the object, Susan said.

One of the significant use cases is constructing AI server hardware made by the likes of Nvidia. Bright Machines tools can help make the manufacturing process of the assembled system more efficient, potentially shaving off weeks or months from the build time, by replacing manual labor with robots and software.

“If I can give Nvidia a month faster (way) to introduce a new product … it’s worth – in this AI background – so many billions of dollars,” Susan said.

Building AI servers is a fast-growing market for Bright Machines, with the company seeing “an insane amount of demand,” Susan said.

The company’s tools can also build a range of other electronics such as mobile phones.

(Reporting by Max A. Cherney in San Francisco; Editing by Leslie Adler)