Space development robot start-up Gitai completes latest fundraising round
(20 August 2019 - Gitai) Gitai, developing task substitution robots specifically for space applications, has completed fundraising activities as of June 2019, successfully raising an additional US$4.1 million (approximately JP¥450 million) from lead investors Spiral Ventures Japan, new investors DBJ Capital (Development Bank of Japan Group) and J-Power (Electric Power Development), as well as existing investors 500 Startups Japan (now Coral Capital).
GITAI is considering carrying out further capital raising in this round, with the goal of completing fundraising activities within this year, backed by a number of investors and corporate investors, with whom discussions are currently under way. The maximum total raised is expected to be US$10 million.
GITAI plans to utilize the funds obtained from the current round to support the ongoing development of their task substitution robot, and for the planned launch of a demonstration model to the International Space Station (ISS) by the end of 2020.
In correspondence to the increasing competition of commercial space development around the globe, the demand for in-space operations is rapidly growing. Low Earth Orbit (LEO) space stations such as the ISS are being considered as platforms for commercial activities, and with US companies developing a host of commercial space stations intended to serve as space hotels and science labs, the demand is growing even more.
In response to the rapidly growing demand for in-space operations, GITAI is a robotics start-up facing the challenge of providing Robotics as a Service (RaaS) performing operations safely and precisely, in order to ease the burden of the astronauts while cutting down work hours and reducing operation costs.
GITAI tied a joint research contract with JAXA in December 2018, and in March 2019, an MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) with Asia’s largest satellite communication provider, Sky Perfect JSAT.
Of the 9 full-time members of GITAI, 6 are PhDs, 5 of whom are alumni of Tokyo University, and 2 of them serving as research associate there. The former Founder & CEO of SCHAFT (acquired by Google in 2013), Yuto Nakanishi has also joined GITAI in March of this year as the full-time COO, accelerating development of the GITAI robot.
About GITAI’s robots
GITAI aims to ease the burden of the astronauts while cutting down work hours and reducing operation costs by developing robots that can substitute astronaut operations performing tasks both inside and outside the ISS.
The latest GITAI (6th generation) robot, under the limited network environment of the ISS, succeeded in conducting operations (switch operations, using tools, handling soft objects, performing scientific experiments, heavy load manipulations, etc.) that until now were considered extremely difficult for a single robot to perform.