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Women-led robotics startup raises over $30M for its hospital droids assisting nurses


Austin-based robotic automation startup, Diligent Robotics has closed over $30 million in Series B funding to develop socially-intelligent service robots. Bringing the total investment raised to date to nearly $50 million, the women-led company also offers artificial intelligence (AI) solutions that enable robots to collaborate within and adapt to human environments.  

Tiger Global led the round; the leading investment firm focused on private and public companies in the internet, software, consumer, and financial technology sectors. Further existing investors, including True Ventures, DNX Venture, Ubiquity Ventures, E14 Fund, Next Coast Ventures, Boom Capital, Gaingels, and additional commitments from new investors, including Cedars-Sinai Health Ventures, participated.

The funding will help Diligent optimise supply chain and design teams for faster robot deployment and drive integrations with existing hospital infrastructure, electronic health records and clinical communications to meet the demands during the nursing shortage.

“We are proud to have the full support of our past investors and welcome our new partners who joined during our Series B raise,” said Dr. Andrea Thomaz, co-founder of Diligent Robotics. “This new round of funding will help us scale the company to meet the incredible demand for our healthcare service robot. Thanks to the support of our investors and the Diligent team, we are focused on expanding automated support for clinical teams so nurses and clinicians can focus on tasks that matter most, patient care.” 

Socially-intelligent service robots

Founded in 2017, by Andrea Thomaz and Vivian Chu, Diligent Robotics leads in the social robotics space and the first to build a robot with social intelligence and mobile manipulation capabilities to help people in their work environments. 

According to a report from Research and Markets, the global smart hospital market is estimated to be at $27.6 billion in 2021 and is expected to reach $82.89 billion by 2026, compounding at 24.6% annually. 

In 2018, the company debuted Moxi, a collaborative robot assistant that assists clinical staff with routine, not-patient-facing tasks including fetching and delivering supplies, medications, or lab samples. 

“We started implementing Moxi into our clinical workflows in December and planned on going through a trial phase to determine if the technology would be helpful to our staff,” said Cody Blankenship, Vice President Performance Improvement at Mary Washington Healthcare. “Right away, we could see the impact Moxi made on the efficiency of our staff and how morale immediately increased. We were so impressed with what Moxi took off our team’s hands, we chose to add even more robots to our fleet.”

Now that Moxi is fully deployed and integrated into a diverse set of health systems across the nation from multi-location systems to smaller community hospitals or large academic and research-focused health systems, the demand is skyrocketing. Chief Nursing Officers from all sizes of healthcare institutions want to understand robotic solutions and how Diligent can help their clinical staff during the nursing shortage crisis.

“Robotic automation technology will be the key to optimizing efficiency and productivity in health care operations,” said Connie Lee, Partner, Tiger Global. “As a leader in robotic technology, Diligent Robotics has been able to scale to meet demand while developing an impressive product that delivers tremendous value for its customers. We are excited to partner with Diligent Robotics as their positive impact on the healthcare system grows.”

“Diligent Robotics’ participation in the Cedars-Sinai Accelerator program led to the exploration of our team testing this solution with our clinical teams,” said Dr. David Marshall, Chief Nursing Executive at Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles. “Using the robot to relieve front-line health care workers from point-to-point delivery and retrieval tasks has been successful in our original launch. Staff members have told me that gives them more time for direct patient care.” 

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