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Fort wants to keep humans safe from industrial robots, raises $25M

Photo Credit: FORT Robotics

Industrial robots are massive, lumbering machines. They are built to work alongside humans while also providing a potential health risk to our sensitive, fleshy skin. For this reason, a thriving world of human-robot interaction has sprung up around the business. How can we continue to collaborate while human workers remain a vital element of the robotic workplace?

Philly-based robotics firm Fort Robotics is working towards it. The fundamental service of the company is software designed to make robots safer around humans while also safeguarding them from potential cybersecurity risks. It mentions that a number of robotics companies, including Agility, Hexagon, and Moog, have already implemented the platform.

Tiger Global led a $25M Series B round for the company. Fort’s total funding now stands at $41.5M, including a $13M round in March 2021 from Prime Movers Lab, Quiet Capital, Lemnos Labs, Creative Ventures, Ahoy Capital, Compound, FundersClub, and Mark Cuban.

Fund usage

The funds will be used to speed up the development of the company’s machine communications platform, which promises to make autonomous robots safer and more secure. FORT also intends to use the new funding to expand platform functionality and improve security services in order to meet expanding end-user demand.

Founded by Samuel Reeves in 2018, the FORT Platform combines functional safety and cybersecurity concepts to provide highly dependable communication to, from, and between machines across any network. FORT’s technology ensures that messages are delivered on time, accurately, and securely. With this additional layer of trust, smart robots may conduct automated operations with less risk to humans and the environment.

“Smart machines are transforming the world, but they come with unprecedented safety and security risks,” said Samuel Reeves, Founder and CEO of FORT. “There’s a massive need for these machines to communicate in a trustworthy way, and it’s something that’s yet to be addressed in the industry. This investment will allow us to scale up to meet the demands of the next generation of smart machines.” 

“Working with FORT enables us to have a dedicated system for safety-critical control, which is really important for a large machine like ours. FORT also helped speed up our development and reduced overall risk for our team,” said Steve Ilmrud, VP of Hexagon Metrology, a FORT customer since 2019. 

Board members

Sineesh Keshav, managing director and chief technology officer at Prologis, will also join FORT’s board. Prologis is a FORT investor who is taking part in the Series B investment round. Keshav formerly held top technical positions at Experian, Safeway, and American Express.

“Trust in machine communications is vital as the number of autonomous systems deployed in the real world multiplies exponentially. FORT’s platform is already being utilized by some of the biggest names in automation, and we are thrilled to be a part of their continued growth,” said Griffin Schroeder, Partner, Tiger Global.

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