RISE Robotics Raises $3 Million Led By MIT’s The Engine

By Amit Chowdhry ● Apr 12, 2020
  • RISE Robotics, a leader in high-performance and cost-effective electric linear actuation solutions, announced it raised $3 million in funding led by The Engine

RISE Robotics — a leader in high-performance and cost-effective electric linear actuation solutions — announced it has raised $3 million in funding led by The Engine — which a venture firm spun out of MIT that invests in early-stage Tough Tech companies aiming to solve the most urgent problems like climate change through breakthroughs in science, engineering, and leadership.

RISE Robotics’ technology is disrupting how linear actuators are engineered and makes the shift from diesel to electric systems possible while being cost-effective and environmentally responsible. And linear actuators create the push-and-pull movements in the mechanisms of heavy machinery — which are essential for lifting and loading materials across many industries, including construction, agriculture, and waste management. Without linear actuators excavators would be unable to dig, garbage trucks could not crush, and forklifts cannot lift.

Today, the majority of heavy machines rely on hydraulic systems, powered by diesel to enable motion. This is the most essential and the most wasteful component in the overall motion system as it produces an estimated 55 million tons of carbon dioxide annually in the U.S. alone, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. The industry has struggled with the slow pace of innovation and the high-cost of using electricity as a power source for heavy machinery.

The additional funding will be used for supporting RISE Robotics’ work with a leading forklift manufacturer to accelerate the electrification of its machinery thus increasing the performance of the manufacturer’s existing electric forklifts and enabling the electrification of its larger-scale machinery, which is currently diesel-fueled.

RISE Robotics’ co-founders Arron Acosta and Blake Sessions had met while at MIT and formed the company with Toomas Sepp and Kyle Dell’Aquila. The company was also part of the Techstars accelerator and received angel funding from notable Boston investors and advisors including John P. Strauss, William J. Warner, and angel investor Walter A. Winshall. RISE Robotics currently has two commercial agreements: one with a major manufacturer of lifting machinery and another with the U.S. Air Force.

The Engine general partner Reed Sturtevant and Winshall will join RISE Robotics’ Board of Directors.

Key Quotes:

“Hybrid and electric retrofits to existing hydraulic systems are more expensive than the existing diesel systems and are much harder to control. Hydraulics are slowing and literally weighing down the adoption of electrically powered heavy machines. The RISE platform offers a completely new mechanical motion technology that makes electric-powered motor-to-movement solutions possible. It’s a game-changer for any manufacturer trying to electrify its heavy machinery.”

-Arron Acosta, CEO and Co-founder of RISE Robotics

“It takes a lot to make a machine move. Displacing hydraulics is just the first application of RISE Robotics’ IP for improving motion and electrifying heavy machinery. Their research, approach and systems will be crucial in evolving how other key mechanical components work, but most importantly these innovations to the fundamentals of how machinery moves will lead the industry toward not just compliance with emissions standards but helping heavy machinery become an oil-free, zero-emissions industry in the future.”

-The Engine general partner Reed Sturtevant