KEYi Tech Funding News


Staff member
KEYi Tech have secured “tens of millions of dollars” in funding, led by top Chinese phone maker Xiaomi. It is interesting to note Xiaomi is currently working on a humanoid robot known as Cyber One.

*Edit: Just realised this article is from 2021. That means the “new products” are Loona!

Noteworthy points:

  • KEYi Tech, a Chinese consumer robotics company, has raised tens of millions of dollars in Series B financing.

  • The round was led by Xiaomi and Shunwei Capital, with existing shareholders Source Code Capital and BlueRun Ventures also participating.

  • The funds will be used to build a developer ecosystem and develop new products.

  • The company is looking to expand sales of ClicBot in the market by upgrading the robot and establishing relationships with more domestic retailers.

  • The company is planning to launch a new version of ClicBot in the coming months that will include new features and capabilities.

BEIJING, July 30, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- KEYI Technology Inc (KEYi Tech), a Chinese consumer robotics corporation, recently raised tens of millions of dollars in Series B financing. This round of financing was led by Xiaomi and Shunwei Capital, followed by existing shareholders

Chinese Consumer Robotics Company KEYi Tech Raises Tens of Millions of Dollars in Series B Financing

Source Code Capital and BlueRun Ventures, with 100Summit Partners serving as the exclusive financial advisor.

"The funds from the Series B financing will be used to build a developer ecosystem and develop new products. The close partnership with Xiaomi allows KEYi Tech to develop robots by combining its advantages in robotic technologies and consumer robotics with Xiaomi's competence in artificial intelligence (AI) technologies and channel supply chain," said Yang Jianbo, founder and CEO of KEYi Tech. "We look forward to delivering a superior Metaverse robotics experience to consumers through our cooperation with Xiaomi."

Founded in 2014, KEYi Tech is a consumer robotics company that has integrated an industrial control algorithm, control and perception technologies as well as AI into the robotic design of ClicBot. Based on a modular robotic system, KEYi Tech has built a platform through which users across different age groups and geographies can create and share content in a common community. ClicBot's open and highly random gameplay delivers more fun as the player's experience grows.

ClicBot was over 40 times oversubscribed on Kickstarter when it was launched on the platform in 2020, raising some US$900,000 from 1,678 backers from more than 80 countries and regions. In March 2021, ClicBot was named by Forbes as "Best Coding Robot" among its Top Ten Educational Robots of the Year. ClicBot, now with over 10,000 users worldwide, recently has been made available in China through an online and offline simultaneous direct sale model. As a next step, KEYi Tech plans to expand sales of ClicBot in the market by upgrading the robot and establishing relationships with more domestic retailers.

"Unlike traditional consumer robots, ClicBot was designed and built based on the concept of creating a brand-new robot with various combinations of intelligent modules," added Mr. Yang. "By reconfiguring the modules, users can create over 10,000 robotics applications from several categories, among them, tools, cute pets and interactive games. ClicBot can be used as a toy as well as a platform through which the user can create content and learn from others."

In addition, ClicBot is an educational robot that delivers a two-level programming experience comprising action coding that is enabled by basic concatenation and codeless programming which is achieved by dragging graphics.

KEYi Tech has also created an intelligent ecological community for ClicBot based on various application scenarios. The community meets on a diversified platform where users from all over the world share, discuss and execute their ideas about robotics every day. The platform brings together content consumers, content creators and developers who facilitate the creation of innovative content and interactions between developers and players. Many members of the community say that it has been an unprecedented and thrilling experience. Users can view and directly download other players' creations in this community. Some take the next step and become content creators.

ClicBot is easy to use and allows users to complete any combination of modules in under 3 minutes. In the ClicBot App playground, the robot is available in over 50 preset robotic configurations, enabling users to learn while playing. Users can also create advanced content based on their own ideas while interacting with and inspiring others in the community. ClicBot's interactions with the community have helped build a Metaverse ecosystem where a large number of players can also become creators and developers, ultimately creating a full ecosystem. Furthermore, with the expansion of the user base and the accelerated evolution of content, players can create their own competitive barriers through content and data, similar to other games in the genre.

SOURCE KEYI Technology Inc

Cyber One by Xiaomi introduction video:
Another article dealing with KEYi funding:
Battery giant Anker backs programmable robot maker KEYi

The promise of STEAM robots, which are billed to increase children’s interest in science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM), has been around for years. The market is teeming with products from hardcore robotics scientists and their copycats. Many have faded away, but investor interest hasn’t died down, at least for one company coming from China.

Keyi Technology, which is known for its modular, cycloptic robot ClicBot, just raised “tens of millions of dollars” in a new funding round. Powered by Blockly, Google’s visual drag-and-drop programming language, ClicBot claims it can be designed in thousands of different ways.

The lead investor of the funding round was Anker, the China- and U.S.-based battery pack and charging giant with a current market cap of 27 billion yuan ($4 billion). Other investors included Xiaomi, Xiaomi founder Lei Jun’s Shunwei Capital and BlueRun Ventures China, the Silicon Valley early-stage investor that entered China in the 2000s.

When asked about details of its investment portfolio, Anker declined to comment. It also didn’t answer a question about potential collaborations between Keyi and itself.

Keyi’s new funding comes at a time when inflation in the U.S. and Europe is hitting consumers’ appetite for tech devices and other goods. But Keyi, which derives 60% of its revenues from outside of China, sees “significant growth” in the global smart toys market thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, which prompted millions of children to learn from home. And like its peers, Keyi is enjoying a growing demand for its educational robots.

The company shipped more than 10,000 parcels of ClicBot last year, growing over 300% year-over-year, though it hasn’t turned profitable, its marketing chief Chen Peng tells TechCrunch. It’s expected to launch a new product in September.

The pandemic also brings challenges to Keyi as COVID lockdowns and a rebound in global trade put the global shipping system under stress. “Inflation and COVID-19 have definitely had some impact on our shipping rates and there is no doubt that we are facing the risk of a decrease in profit margin — especially because we are an international e-commerce company,” Peng tells TechCrunch.

In the meantime, export-oriented Chinese consumer startups like Keyi are coping with the consequences of Apple’s privacy policy change. “Re-target marketing becomes limited as now we are unable to obtain data from iOS users” and “the attribution analysis model becomes ineffective as well,” Peng admits. The company’s strategy is to place more resources into content marketing, which “has always been seen as an important way for us to let more people get to know ClicBot and an incentive for us to develop a better product,” says the executive.