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Swiss startup Ascento grabs $4.3M to launch autonomous security patrolling robot

Ascento robot
Picture credits: Ascento

Labour shortages have affected large parts of the world and various industries. The security industry is also feeling this challenge with many countries around the world facing over 50% staff shortage of security guards, which means companies are struggling to fulfill contractual obligations or sign new business.

Zurich-based robotics startup Ascento tackles this challenge by providing robotic guards and AI software to patrol large, outdoor, private properties.

With the plans to launch its latest autonomous outdoor security patrolling robot, Ascento Guard, the company has grabbed $4.3 million in pre-seed funding. Currently, Ascento is hiring across Sales and Operations to scale their fleet of Ascento Guards. The investment round was led by Wingman Venture and Playfair (which invested in uMed and Material Evolution). 

It saw participation from marquee investors, including Tim Kentley-Klay (Founder of Zoox that exited to Amazon), robotics industry veteran Ryan Gariepy (CTO & Co-Founder of Clearpath Robotics and OTTO Motors), Daniel Kottlarz (Founder of MYBOTSHOP, largest robotics research reseller in Europe) and Tobias Redlin (Founder of IGO3D, largest desktop 3D printer distributor in Europe). It also includes non-dilutive funding from the Swiss Innovation Agency Innosuisse and the European Space Agency incubator ESA BIC. 

Pascal Mathis, Founding Partner at Wingman Ventures commented: “We accompanied the founder team for over a year as sparring partners and the dedication, execution speed and how the team is listening to its customers to build the right solution is astonishing. We look forward to making the life of security guards easier and the objects they protect safer.”

Chris Smith, Managing Partner at Playfair commented: “Many of the world’s most pressing business challenges cannot be solved by software alone. We see the next decade as providing a huge opportunity for companies building in robotics to solve these challenges. Ascento’s combination of a world-class team, best-in-class technology, and a large global market with significant labour and pricing pressures made this a compelling investment opportunity for us.”

Proprietary AI to guard properties

Ascento was founded by Alessandro Morra, Miguel de la Iglesia Valls, Ciro Salzmann and Dominik Mannhart, who combined their experience as security guards with the robotics technology that they developed at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich) as students.

The team has grown to >10 people, as new customers sign up every month, with a growing fleet mileage over 70% month over month since the beginning of 2023. Pwered by proprietary AI. the Ascento solutions can be used by premises like manufacturing plants, data centres, energy production, pharma manufacturing, luxury manufacturing and outdoor warehousing. 

Ascento Guard: Autonomous outdoor security patrolling robot

Ascento Guard can detect bad actors or unwanted people on premises, verify perimetre integrity, check that doors and windows are closed, record property lights, identify floods and fires, and control parking lots. They can move at walking speed of 4.5km/h and come with autonomous charging such that the system can be continuously in operation without human intervention.

The Ascento Guard can be installed and deployed within a few hours, allowing companies to save from day 1 and adapt fast to their current security needs. It can be hired by the hour, just like a human guard, and includes deployment, 24/7 support, service and repairs. 

The Ascento App analyses video and images with AI, it integrates with existing video management systems, provides end-to-end encrypted two-way communication, and offers powerful reports that security managers actually want to see.

Alessandro Morra, co-founder and CEO of Ascento commented: “The new Ascento Guard offers hope and a breath of fresh air for the security industry facing some pressing challenges. By supporting human security personnel with the Ascento Guard, security companies can offer a lean solution through which Ascento does the heavy lifting allowing humans to focus on the unique nuances of the work”.

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