Sridhar Vembu joins Anand Mahindra to back manual scavenging robotics startup

With this investment, Zoho Corp looks to assist the startup on its mission to eradicate manual scavenging in India.
Image © Genrobotics

SaaS giant Zoho Corp recently invested INR 20 crores (USD 2.5 million) in AI-powered robotics startup Genrobotics. With this investment, Zoho Corp looks to assist the startup on its mission to eradicate manual scavenging in India. The company believes that it reflects its mission to nurture the development of a deep-tech ecosystem in the country. 

Prior to this, Genrobotics has also raised investments from Anand Mahindra, Rajan Anandan, Unicorn Ventures and SEA funds. To date, the company has raised total funding of USD 3 million. 

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Founded in 2017, Trivandrum-based Genrobotics provides better and safer methods to the people working in extreme and unsafe conditions using robotics and AI. The company has developed the world’s first robotic scavenger called ‘Bandicoot’ and the robot-assisted gait training solution ‘G Gaiter’ for the fastest rehabilitation of paraplegic patients. 

As part of the Make in India initiative, Genrobotics products are completely designed and manufactured in the country. It currently serves customers in the UK, Malaysia, UAE, and South Korea. 

Zoho Corp chief Sridhar Vembu said that building such technological competencies and critical know-how locally can help foster sustainable growth across sectors, including industrial manufacturing, healthcare, and energy, making the country economically stronger and self-reliant. 

Further, he said that making this a reality requires focused, long-term investments that support home-grown deep-tech startups through research and development and engineering phases and bring ideas to the market faster. “We are happy to fast-track their efforts and support them in their mission to end manual scavenging,” he added, commenting on their recent investment in Genrobotics. 

Bandicoot

One of its flagship offerings, Bandicoot, helps clean confined spaces such as sewers holes, sewer wells, stormwater manholes, oily water sewers and stormwater sewers in refineries. At present, smart cities, urban local bodies, refineries, MNCs, townships and housing colonies across 14 states are using their robots, eliminating the need for human entry into manholes. 

Here’s a quick glimpse of the Bandicoot robot: 

“We have rehabilitated hundreds of people working as manual scavengers by training them to be robot operators,” said Genrobotics’ CEO Vimal Govind MK. He said for India to end manual scavenging, more than one lakh robots will be required. 

As we scale to fill the need gap, we estimate the creation of nearly five-lakh jobs across the country. The investment from Zoho will help us to expand our advanced R&D infrastructure, build large-scale production facilities, hire more talent, increase our exports to ASEAN markets and expand our global footprints.”

G Gaiter 

Genrobotics has recently ventured into healthcare and launched a robot-assisted gait training solution – G Gaiter – to help rehabilitate paraplegia patients. 

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Amit Raja Naik
Amit Raja Naik is a seasoned technology journalist who covers everything from data science to machine learning and artificial intelligence for Analytics India Magazine, where he examines the trends, challenges, ideas, and transformations across the industry.

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