It is known that eldercare or elderly care is a big business for robotics all over the world. With the increase in the ageing population, several companies are purpose-building a robot to assist people who face difficulties.
A California-based Labrador Systems is an early-stage startup that develops a new generation of assistive robots. The company has nabbed an additional $3.1 million in seed funding in a round led by Amazon’s Alexa Fund and iRobot Ventures along with SOSV returning and new investors such as Grep VC. Labrador Systems will use the fresh funds to expand its consumer and commercial activities, accelerate efforts with its manufacturing partners and grow its engineering team.
“Labrador is advancing the state of the art in what it means to provide assistance to people aging and with mobility challenges,” said Paul Bernard, Director of the Alexa Fund. “They are addressing a significant problem in our society and have brought their decades of experience in consumer robotics to bear, delivering a product that will help empower people to live better lives.”
“This is the first time we’ve seen this class of robot developed for the home; until now this level of functionality has been confined to warehouses and other commercial environments,” says Paul Willard, Partner at Grep VC. “We’re impressed with how the team is enabling robotics and navigation systems to run on low-cost consumer-grade electronics to provide more independence for millions of individuals.”
Labrador Retriever, personal robot!
At the CES 2022, Labrador Systems introduced the Labrador Retriever, its new personal robot, which empowers individuals to live more independently. The robot provides them with physical and practical assistance in their everyday activities in their home.
It lightens the load for individuals who face trouble in doing their daily activities due to pain, injury or health conditions. It can navigate through their home and bring items within reach, thanks to its innovative retrieval and delivery system. Also, users can control the Retriever via their voice using their smartphone or Alexa-powered device.
Notably, the Labrador Retriever resembles a robotic bar cart, which offers assistance for elderly users and people with limited mobility. It can carry up to 25 pounds and deliver laundry, meals and other payloads around the house. There is a retractable tray system, which moves objects onto the cart from shelves, counters, and a refrigerator that the company plans to offer. Beneath this, there is additional storage space food, medicines, and a port for charging phones.
Summing up the work of Labrador, SOSV General Partner Cyril Ebersweiler said, “This is the robot everybody was looking for.”
How much does it cost?
As part of a limited offer, Labrador offers Retriever at special pricing for consumers who sign up for their early reservation program on its website and place a refundable deposit. Initially, the personal robot will be available on a subscription basis for early reservation holders. It will be priced at an upfront payment of $1,500 along with a monthly fee starting at $99 per month to $149 per month for 36 months based on the model and customer credit.
Labrador Systems announced that it will start accepting early reservations for its home robots from consumers on its official website. Also, the company intends to start the full production of these robots by the second half of 2023 while the beta units will be made available earlier.
Plans entry-level version of Retriever
Labrador Systems was founded by Mike Dooley and Nikolai Romanov in 2017, The platform is designed to be part of an expanding ecosystem of products and services in this segment. Besides Retriever, Labrador announced plans to offer an entry-level version of the robot, the Labrador Caddie. This variant will provide different pricing and features depending on the user’s needs.
Also, the company is working with care providers in senior living, physical therapy and home health to explore numerous ways that the platform can support their mission and extend the impact of caregivers in a number of settings.