Fresh juice


Humanoid robot startup Figure AI in funding talks with Microsoft, OpenAI

San Francisco-based startup Figure AI Inc. is in advanced talks to raise as much as $500 million in a new funding round led by technology giants Microsoft Corp. and OpenAI, according to a person familiar with the negotiations.

The person, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to the private nature of the dealings, said Figure is seeking additional investors to participate in the funding round beyond Microsoft and OpenAI.

In one scenario under discussion, Microsoft would invest around $95 million into Figure, while OpenAI would chip in $5 million.

The new cash infusion could give Figure a $1.9 billion valuation before the new money is accounted for. Depending on the total amount raised, Figure's value including the new funds - known as its post-money valuation - could end up significantly higher.

If successful, the funding round would likely make Figure AI one of the most richly valued startups focused on humanlike robotics and artificial intelligence.

However, the person cautioned that terms of the deal are still in flux and it could fall apart before finalization.

Spokespeople for Microsoft, OpenAI and Figure all declined to comment on any potential funding talks.

Figure AI is developing an AI-powered humanlike robot called Figure 01 that is capable of natural movements and interactions. The company hopes Figure 01 can take on various dangerous and labor-intensive jobs that are ill-suited for human workers.

"We hope that we're one of the first groups to bring to market a humanoid that can actually be useful and do commercial activities," Figure CEO Brett Adcock said last year after a prior $70 million funding round.

Alleviating labor shortages through automation and AI is a key priority across major industries right now.

The niche AI robotics space has seen heightened investor interest lately. Earlier this month, 1X Technologies - a Norwegian startup also backed by OpenAI - raised $100 million.

Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has also indicated his companies are developing an AI humanoid robot called Optimus.

If Figure is able to finalize its latest funding round, it would mark one of largest private investments to date targeted at developing consumer-focused humanlike robotics and artificial intelligence.

Share with friends:

Write and read comments can only authorized users