Riot invests in what it calls “hard tech” — generally robotics and artificial intelligence-driven products and platforms spanning areas from communications and security to manufacturing. The low-profile fund mainly targets early stage businesses, although it has also made opportunistic investments in later-stage companies.
Some of Riot’s local investments include downtown-based Elementary Robotics Inc., which raised $13 million in a July Series A funding round, and Playa Vista-based gaming internet company Subspace Inc. The firm is a backer of several other applied robotics companies including retail robotics firm Simbe Robotics Inc. and construction robotics startup Rugged Robotics Inc.
Some of the firm’s prominent later-stage investments include Burlington, Mass.-based Desktop Metal Inc., a 3D printing company which recently announced plans to go public through a reverse-merger at a $2.5 billion valuation, and Boston-based restaurant operating platform Toast Inc., currently valued at $4.9 billion.
Riot co-founders Stephen Marcus and Will Coffield have been relatively closed-lipped about their firm, but have previously indicated that Riot’s first $10 million vehicle was a litmus test for the viability of their investment thesis.
While demand for AI-enabled technologies has been growing steadily in recent years, robotics has seen a particular boost from the Covid-19 pandemic.
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