Humanoid Robot Startup, Figure, Raises $675M from OpenAI, Bezos, NVIDIA, Microsoft and Others

Humanoid Robot Startup, Figure, Raises $675M from OpenAI, Bezos, NVIDIA, Microsoft and Others

In a powerful endorsement of the rapid advancements in autonomous AI and robotics, Figure recently announced $675 million in Series B funding at a stunning $2.6 billion valuation. The round included a braintrust of AI innovators and investors – Microsoft, OpenAI, Jeff Bezos, NVIDIA, Amazon, Intel Capital and ARK Invest – intent on accelerating Figure's commercial deployment of embodied AI.

Figure made waves in 2022 when serial entrepreneur Brett Adcock bootstrapped the company with a $100 million commitment and a bold vision to develop general purpose humanoid robots within a year. Now at 80 employees strong, this cadre of experts from pioneering companies like Boston Dynamics aims to address labor shortages in undesirable or unsafe jobs with its humanoid called Figure 01.

Venture capital firms and AI leaders are placing big bets on Figure as a frontrunner to deliver real-world impact of artificial intelligence through advanced robotics. The lifelike Figure 01 can walk on two legs, utilize its five-fingered hands to grasp objects and place them elsewhere, already demonstrating 16.7% the speed of a human performing the same warehouse task.

While still in the early stages, the company seems poised for rapid advancement. The new investments will expand AI training and cloud infrastructure through Microsoft Azure, accelerate manufacturing capacity, and fuel critical R&D – including through an intriguing OpenAI collaboration on next generation AI models tailored for humanoids.

As Figure Founder Adcock said, “AI and robotics are the future, and I am grateful to have the support of investors and partners who believe in being at the forefront.”

While promising, delivering on the grand vision of embodied AI still requires breakthroughs on multiple fronts before autonomous humanoids become ubiquitous. Costs continue dropping but remain high, prices likely needing to fall to $30,000 per robot unit for viable scale. AI generalization also lags human cognition enormously. Most experts believe we are still five years away from artificial general intelligence that can match humans.

Goldman Sachs analysts forecast over 250,000 humanoid robot units could be shipped industry-wide by 2030, a $38 billion market if the technology advances to perform repetitive manual labor safely and precisely.

Still, by combining formidable AI talent with robotics pioneers and substantial financing, Figure aims to push the pace of development to commercial viability. While incremental baby steps today, investment and progress continue steadily toward perhaps one day unleashing a new wave of autonomous humanoids into industry. The march toward that future took one giant leap with Figure’s latest funding infusion.

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