FILE PHOTO: Lovot, a Japanese-made robotic companion, is on display at the Austin Convention Center at the South by Southwest (SXSW) Conference and Festival in Austin, Texas, USA on March 11, 2019. REUTERS/Sergio Flores
March 15, 2022
By Makiko Yamazaki and Sam Nussey
TOKYO (Reuters) – A state-backed Japanese fund announced on Tuesday that it has sold its entire stake in robotics startup Groove X, which makes a “loving” companion robot, to a fund owned by Japanese fashion billionaire Yusaku Maezawa.
Four years ago, state fund INCJ invested 3.5 billion yen ($29.6 million) in Groove X, which was developed by a graduate of SoftBank Group Corp.’s robotics unit. Founded. It didn’t disclose the price of the sale to the Maezawa Fund and declined to say if it made a profit.
Maezawa “showed a strong interest in the concept of a home robot as a solution to social problems,” INCJ said in a statement explaining the exit.
A cross between “love” and “robot”, the Lovot has wheels and resembles a penguin with cartoonish human eyes. It has interchangeable outfits and communicates by squeaking.
Groove X has raised funds from investors including a Toyota Motor Corp-backed fund and chat app operator Line Corp in the past.
Maezawa, who visited the International Space Station on a Russian rocket late last year, made his fortune founding online fashion retailer Zozo, which was bought by SoftBank’s internet business.
Through his fund, Maezawa has invested in companies including one that makes smart litter boxes that analyze toilet habits and track pet health, and one that offers personalized celebrity videos.
(Reporting by Makiko Yamazaki; Editing by Richard Pullin)
https://www.oann.com/fashion-magnate-maezawa-takes-stake-in-affectionate-robot-venture/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=fashion-magnate-maezawa-takes-stake-in-affectionate-robot-venture Fashion tycoon Maezawa takes a stake in a “loving” robot company