J.P. Morgan is high on robots.
The big bank on Monday led a $52.5 million investment round in a San Francisco robotics startup Anki. Venture capital firms Andreessen Horowitz and Index Ventures and hedge fund Two Sigma also participated in the funding.
Anki made a name for itself in 2013 when it released its robotic race cars that received praise from Apple (AAPL) CEO Tim Cook, who invited the startup on stage during Apple’s 2013 developer conference.
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On Monday, the startup unveiled a new toy robot that former animators from film studios like DreamWorks (DWA) and Pixar helped design. The new robot looks like a mini truck outfitted with a tank tread and forklift. A small screen displays two animated blue eyes that move around and change shape depending on the robot’s reactions.
In December, Business Insider reported on an internal J.P. Morgan (JPM) memo that detailed some of the bank’s technology investment strategy for 2016. The memo explained that the bank created internal teams that would invest in “major priorities” like the blockchain distributed financial ledger technology, advanced data analytics, and robotics.
The memo did not elaborate on the specifics of the bank’s investments, but Anki appears to be an emerging player in the robotics space that the bank is betting on. The bank also led a previous $55 million funding round in Anki in 2014.
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Anki was founded in 2010 by three graduates of the Carnegie Mellon Robotics Institute and has a little over 130 workers, said Anki co-founder and president Hanns Tappeiner. The startup has a total of $182.5 million in funding. The company did not disclose its valuation.