Kingdom Technologies secures £1.4m investment for robotic lawn mower tech

Kingdom Technologies secures £1.4m investment for robotic lawn mower tech

Glasgow-based technology company Kingdom Technologies has secured £1.4 million in its latest round of funding to fuel the expansion of its innovative fleet of robotic lawn mowers.

The investment includes contributions from notable backers such as the billionaire founders of Skype and Bolt, alongside Iron Wolf Capital, Specialist VC, and Scottish Enterprise.

Kingdom Technologies, established in 2018 by CEO Joan Kangro, will use the £1.4m funding, which also includes grant support from Scottish Enterprise, to develop a new version of their mower and produce more than 100 units this year.

Since securing £2m in seed funding 18 months ago, Kingdom Technologies has doubled its headcount to around 20 people, and seen a surge in customer activity in Florida, primarily cutting sports fields which generally require cutting heights between 20-60 mm. The new version of the mower will be able to cut up to 100 mm, and handle rougher terrains to maintain commercial campuses, parks and other large lawns in the US.

Kingdom Technologies has been supported in this, and previous funding rounds, by investment specialists at law firm Harper Macleod since 2019.

Mr Kangro, originally from Estonia, but now living in Glasgow, established Kingdom Technologies after graduating from the University of Glasgow. With support from the European Regional Development Fund through Glasgow City Council’s business advisory scheme, Scottish Enterprise and the University of Glasgow, Mr Kangro then went on to win in the Scottish Edge Wild Card competition and RSE Unlocking Ambition Enterprise Fellowship.

This latest round of funding is a precursor to the next, much larger, fundraising exercise which aims to raise a £20m Series A round by the end of this year to enable to grow the fleet to over 1000 robots.

Research from the US Environmental Protection Agency suggests that petrol-powered lawn mowers are responsible for 12% of carbon monoxide emissions and 5% of the overall air pollution, with some states, including California, already banning or restricting smaller engine-based mowers. Kingdom robotic lawn mowers are fully electric and therefore have a significant positive impact on the environment. In addition, they are much quieter than traditional lawn mowers, which is often one of the main arguments for using Kingdom mowers by the clients.

Although robotic lawn mowers have been available since the 1990s, Kingdom Technologies’ mowers are able to cover much larger cutting areas, due to proprietary positioning, mapping and path planning technology. Traditional robotic mowers cut the lawns using a random cutting pattern, while Kingdom mowers maintain the lawn by an efficient, human-like cutting trajectory, to avoid going over the same spot multiple times. They are also safer and easier to install, making them perfect for large, public areas. Kingdom’s current robot capacity allows it to cut up to 70,000 metres squared per week.

Mr Kangro said this latest investment round sets the company on the next phase of its journey.

He said: “The US is the biggest growth market for Kingdom Technologies, which we’ll continue to drive from our Glasgow home due to the support we get from Scottish Enterprise, local partners and the growing robotics expertise emanating from local universities.

“Our aim is for Kingdom Technologies to be one of UK’s largest robotics companies in the coming years. The faith shown in us from our current, new and potential investors means we are well on the way to achieving that ambition.”

The idea for Kingdom Technologies came about when Mr Kangro was asked by a friend to help install an existing robotic lawn mower. He realised that the current models had significant shortcomings, including a lengthy installation process, inefficient operation and safety concerns, which could be improved with novel new technologies.

Rachel Miele, a senior solicitor in the corporate, commercial and regulatory team at Harper Macleod, said: “Joan and his team are quickly growing Kingdom Technologies into a global company, underpinned by robust technology and a diverse range of investors who can support them in their ambitions.

“This follow-on investment is the second chapter in what promises to be an exciting story and sets the company up for a more significant fundraising exercise towards the end of this year.

“Joan has attracted funding from some well-known investors who will not only raise the global profile of the company and its technology, but also support the development of new robots and open up new markets.”

Kerry Sharp, director of entrepreneurship and investment at Scottish Enterprise, said: “Kingdom Technologies is a great example of how we can support the growth of innovative Scottish companies through the right mixture of investment, grant funding and expert advice.

“It’s exciting to see the progress the company is making having gained a foothold in the lucrative US market. This, and the planned Series A round, has the potential to really accelerate Kingdom Technologies’ development and help deliver on its ambitions to scale.”

Alongside the investment, Kingdom Technologies also welcomes a new board member, David Lane, who is a passionate scientist, innovator, educator & personal investor in the twin disciplines of robotics & AI.

Mr Lane is the founder of SeeByte and director of several businesses in the UK, US, Norway and Hong Kong. Over an extensive academic career as professor & founding director he co-created the Edinburgh Centre for Robotics and National Robotarium, a £150m joint venture between Heriot-Watt and Edinburgh Universities. He has published more than 300 peer-reviewed papers and has held visiting scientific appointments in the US, China and with NATO.

Mr Lane said: “I have been impressed by the energy and enthusiasm of the team at Kingdom and their ambitions to grow.

“With a timely product and first traction in their beachhead market they are well-placed for success. I look forward to becoming part of the journey and to helping the organisation realise its potential.”

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