Foxglove, which builds infrastructure stacks for robotics, announced today that it has raised $15 million in Series A funding led by Eclipse, led by Amplify Partners and angel investors including Cruise CEO Kyle Vogt. The proceeds bring Foxglove’s total to $18.7 million, which CEO Adrian McNeil said will be used primarily for product development and expanding the company’s product engineering and sales teams.
McNeil previously led infrastructure at Cruze, a self-driving car company backed by GM (hence Vogt’s involvement) and was the first director of engineering at Coinbase. During his time at Cruz, McNeil said he saw firsthand the lack of off-the-shelf tools for robotics and autonomous vehicle development. Cruz had to hire entire teams to build tools in-house, including for visualization, data management, AI and machine learning, simulation, and more.
That inspired Foxglove, launched as a fork of Webviz, an open-source web visualization project released by Cruise in early 2021. After rewriting much of the code, adding support for various robotics frameworks, and creating companion tools for data logging and management, McNeil and Foxglove co-founder Roman Shtilman (also a Cruz and Coinbase veteran) officially launched the company and platform.
“Building the same internal tools for all robotics companies is incredibly inefficient and often undesirable,” McNeil told TechCrunch in an email. “To grow the robotics industry, we need to lower the barrier to success for robotics companies by creating high-quality off-the-shelf solutions and empowering robotics professionals to focus on domain-specific challenges.”
Foxglove creates cloud-based tools and libraries, such as the open-source MCAP, which provides a standardized interface for companies to share data. As McNeil explains, robotics data is unique; Most file formats are not suitable for storing data such as point clouds, camera images, machine learning estimates, and control outputs.
“Prior to MCAP, many of our customers were literally inventing their own file formats for recording data, with predictable results when trying to bring that data into standard devices,” said Macneil. “Since then, we’ve had some notable people in this open source project, like Andrill.”
Foxglove recently released a rewritten 3D visualizer that adds features such as a viewer that allows users to combine camera images and 3D models in the same scene. Looking to the future, McNeil said he aims to streamline customer uploads from field or remote facilities and improve Foxglove’s support for simulated data.
“The robotics industry is still in its infancy and hasn’t gotten as much attention as the broader AI industry – but there are amazing companies being built and huge opportunities. The biggest challenge for the robotics industry is lack of awareness,” said McNeil. “Funnily, it reminds me of when I first started working in crypt. Hiring technical people has been a challenge because it’s such a niche industry.Thankfully, we’re seeing awareness accelerate as people realize the importance of the issues.
Foxglove says it’s “in a good position financially-wise” with 8x active users over the past year and is growing fast. Fully remote with 19 employees in four countries, the company serves more than 3,000 users on cloud-based devices and its enterprise customers, including Nvidia and 6 River Systems.
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