SoftBank Robotics Group invests in Avalon SteriTech for a clean future

The Softbank Whiz AMR combines floor cleaning and disinfection capabilities into a single unit. | Image credit: Softbank Whiz

SoftBank Robotics Group Corp. (“SBRG”) announced a strategic equity investment into Avalon SteriTech (“Avalon”). The companies have collaborated in public facilities cleaning and disinfection applications since March 2021.

With the transaction, SBRG will own approximately 5% stake in Avalon’s disinfection business. Mr. Kenichi Yoshida, Chief Business Officer of SoftBank Robotics Corp, will take part in its board of directors to support the continuous growth of the company. The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions and is expected to close by the end of April 2022.

China is seeing a resurgence in COVID-19 infections along with increased need to disinfect and clean public facilities to help control the pandemic. This need continues to be a positive market sign for both companies.

The two companies strive to innovate smart-cleaning products and customized solutions in Hong Kong and beyond, leveraging Avalon’s strengths in biotechnology and healthcare, and SBRG’s expertise in AI, automation, and robotics.

Building on the success of Whiz Gambit, the 2-in-1 AI-powered cleaning and disinfection robotics solution launched under the joint venture, has successfully extended its footprints worldwide from Asia Pacific to EMEA, forging ahead toward Australia, the United Arab Emirates, and the United States.

As the pandemic rages on, Whiz Gambit has been widely adopted by the public sector, hospitality, commercial, and healthcare industries, with over 100 of them serving the city’s extensive railway network in Hong Kong. Hence, Whiz Gambit was also a proud recipient of several international recognition’s including the Innovation Honoree (Robotics) at the CES 2022 Innovation Awards.

“We are excited to deepen our strategic partnership with SoftBank Robotics Group. Since last year, we have been working closely in accelerating the adoption of smart disinfection solutions and uplifting the public health standard that transcends conventional concepts of hygiene. The investment from SoftBank Robotics will bring tremendous momentum to our global market expansion, as we continue to work hand in hand with businesses, governments, and societies to safeguard the health and well-being of millions of people around the globe,” said Mr. Lewis Ho, Chief Executive Officer of Avalon SteriTech.

Whiz Gambit is a combination of two separate technologies. | Image credit: Softbank

“SoftBank Robotics continues to identify innovative business approaches that enable us to stay at the forefront of providing robotics solutions. Equity investment is a capital efficient way for us to strengthen our participation in the ever-changing competitive robotics landscape. This opportunity to increase our stake and involvement will bolster our disinfection robots category. We are pleased to have found a like-minded partner like Avalon SteriTech, with their extensive knowledge in the biomedical sector, it will be integral to the success of this joint venture”, said Mr. Kenichi Yoshida, Chief Business Officer of SoftBank Robotics Group Corp.

Moving forward, the strategic partnership will focus on creative product development and strengthen business collaboration, from technologies and robotics innovation, business operations, and sales network establishment, setting foot in the dynamic global disinfection market.

As the world sees the aviation industry’s recovery making its way, Avalon will be launching a new disinfection robot for mass transportation later this year. Currently, Avalon’s disinfection robot for the sector is serving Cathay Pacific Airways and MTR’s Airport Express for daily disinfection.

Editors Note: Softbank Robotics is adjusting its portfolio of robotic solutions with the recent announcement of sale of the Pepper robot business to United Robotics Group (in Europe) for an undisclosed amount.

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