May 7, 2021

ViaBot400x275ViaBot, a robotics startup automating maintenance and management to large properties, has announced its public launch with $6.1 million in funding. The company also disclosed a key partnership with Cushman & Wakefield, which has deployed ViaBot’s RUNO robots to properties in the San Francisco Bay Area for sweeping and security services.

“We’re excited to announce our public launch to scale our Robots-as-a-Service for property management,” said Gregg Ratanaphanyarat, CEO and co-founder of ViaBot. “We founded ViaBot with a mission to address the dirty, dull and dangerous jobs of outdoor work, and we’re thrilled that our multifunctional robots are offering better solutions to the challenges facing property managers today.”

Headquartered in San Francisco, the company was founded by Ratanaphanyarat and Andre Ding in 2016, while both were undergraduate students at Penn State. They observed that outdoor maintenance for consumers and commercial property managers was a yearlong problem – one that would be ideally suited to robotics. Many property managers have reported accountability and cost challenges, labor shortages, and a need for digitization, which have only accelerated throughout the pandemic as office parks sat empty, they said.

RUNO is designed to clean and automatically dump its debris as well as autonomous battery hot-swapping, ViaBot said. At the same time it performs this work, it can also do soft security monitoring, a program currently in beta. The robot’s built-in sensors scan and escalate suspicious activity to security teams; for example, if a car has been parked in the same place for several days, it will trip RUNO’s flags, the company said. The robots also have multiple cameras and sonar sensors and use GPS to help navigate.

ViaBot said outdoor maintenance has historically been underserved by the robotics industry, as developers typically focus on just one problem area to avoid the so-called “Swiss Army knife” problem. But to be commercially viable, building managers need multiple services, the company added To address this, ViaBot said it takes a modular approach to overcome this tension, addressing multiple needs through its facility maintenance and management robot-as-a-service.

“We pride ourselves on maintaining pristine, sustainable, friendly environments across our portfolio,” said Andrew Rivlin, sustainable environments & habitats manager at Cushman & Wakefield. “We’re excited by ViaBot’s vision to help digitize property management and the fact that RUNO takes on more challenging aspects of our operations while also increasing cadence and output through automation and multitasking. Partnering with ViaBot has been a refreshing and fun aspect in my day to day.”

“In just a few short years, the ViaBot team has countered the prevailing narrative in robotics, showing that robots can in fact evolve and perform more than a single function – and therefore meet the needs of the properties and communities they serve,” said Steve Anderson, founder of Baseline Ventures. “Gregg and Andre have been building robots for most of their lives and have the rare ability to build and iterate while also orienting toward greater impact. We’re confident that this team has the potential to scale to serve millions of properties across the country in new and better ways.”

For more details on the company, visit the ViaBot website.