Diffused x Figure A.I

By Meddy Abdi

Published: 2024-03-01

Figure, the Bay Area-based robotics firm, has officially confirmed its successful fundraising efforts, securing a substantial $675 million in a Series B round. This funding has propelled the startup to an impressive post-money valuation of $2.6 billion. Among the noteworthy investors participating in this round are Microsoft, OpenAI Startup Fund, Nvidia, Amazon Industrial Innovation Fund, Jeff Bezos, Parkway Venture Capital, Intel Capital, Align Ventures, and ARK Invest.

Founded by serial entrepreneur Brett Adcock, Figure initially received a bootstrap injection of $100 million from its founder. Subsequently, in May of the previous year, the company secured an additional $70 million through a Series A round. The recent Series B funding, led by influential industry players, signifies a remarkable financial backing for a relatively young startup with an 80-person team.

Figure, which set an ambitious goal of creating a walking bipedal robot within a year of its 2022 launch, claims to have achieved this milestone. The startup, like several others in the industry, is capitalizing on the rising interest in humanoid robots. Notable examples include Tesla, Apptronik, and 1X. Amazon has also ventured into this domain with a pilot program involving Agility's Digit robot, particularly for tasks in warehouses and fulfilment centers.

The focus on industrial applications for humanoid robots aligns with the practicality of addressing upfront costs and the adaptability required in workplace settings. The blog suggests that warehouse work is considered a stepping stone to wider adoption, eventually leading to the integration of robots into domestic environments.

Innovation, Creative Technology and A.I

In an interesting development, Figure has entered into a partnership with OpenAI to develop next-generation AI models for humanoid robots. The collaboration aims to enhance the communication capabilities of humanoid robots, focusing on natural language processing for more seamless interactions with humans. This aligns with the broader goal of achieving generalised AI, allowing robots to perform various tasks in a manner akin to human adaptability.

The blog emphasises the significance of realistic expectations in the field of robotics, cautioning against exaggerated claims about the current state of artificial general intelligence. It notes the importance of multipurpose systems and highlights Figure's progress through a recent video showcasing its robot's operations at approximately 16.7% of human speed in performing a specific task.

Microsoft's involvement in the funding round indicates Figure's utilization of Azure for storage, training, and AI infrastructure. The autonomous nature of Figure's robot is underscored, emphasizing the challenges of achieving true autonomy in dynamic and unstructured environments.

The blog concludes by mentioning that the funds raised will be directed toward accelerating Figure's go-to-market strategy, noting a partnership with BMW for robotics deployment. The company's progress and achievements, along with its diverse and influential investor base, position Figure as a significant player in the evolving landscape of humanoid robotics.

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