Augmented Robotics GmbH

Augmented Reality für klassische Spielwaren

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€769.648 Funded
96 Investors
32 days left

Augmented Robotics GmbH

Augmented Reality für klassische Spielwaren

44 - 65 %
targeted return per year
4,32 - 7,52 x
targeted multiple
31.12.2026
loan term until
Am Ende der Laufzeit
Date interest payment
€5.000.000
Pre-money valuation
€1.000.000
Funding maximum

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Description

Description

Short description

Augmented Robotics expands the world of your toys through amazing digitised worlds of augmented reality. For example, with our technology virtual car races can be carried out not only with a game console on your TV, but anywhere – live in your garden, your playroom, or even at a friend’s house.

Under the Beyond Play brand, Augmented Robotics enables your smartphones and tablets to:

  • control your remote-controlled toys
  • integrate your toys into great new virtual worlds
  • bring exciting on-screen adventures to board games, collectibles, plush toys and action figures.

Our technology can be integrated into both new products and existing toys, and anyone with an AR-enabled smartphone (which is nearly all smartphones since 2019) are able to access these exciting new worlds!

This was previously only possible with expensive AR glasses or headsets, so it is an absolute quantum-leap for the toy industry that augmented reality technology is now so widely accessible. Of course, adopting this tech will also serve to ensure customer loyalty and act as a bridge for the next generation of gamers.

Augmented Robotics has already signed its first customers on both the physical toy and mobile gaming sides, including one of the world’s leading Japanese entertainment companies (and one of the PwC Global Top 100). From 2023, we will also provide toy manufacturers and mobile game studios with our online platform, RoboGO, which can then be used to gain greater access to their customers.

About Augmented Robotics GmbH

Augmented Robotics was founded in 2019, and today employs over 20 people from all over the world. The three founders of the company, Tony Nitschke, Patrick Bethke and Evgeni Melan found their calling in this field through their backgrounds in various fields of space technology. This sparked an interest in artificial intelligence (AI), which enabled the development of RoboBrain – an AI for smartphones capable of tracking objects in a physical area. This tech became the core of the company, and the rest, as they say, is history...

There is yet another development arising from the minds of our three founders: an intelligent hardware component called RoboHeart. RoboHeart is an innovative circuit board enabling RC toys and other devices to be integrated into augmented reality worlds and controlled with precision using only your smartphone.
 

Team

Tony Nitschke

CEO & Founder

Tony loves mastering seemingly impossible challenges and turning his visions into reality. Due to his willingness to think unconventionally, he was the recipient of the Jugend Forscht young scientist German national competition in 2008. He studied Engineering at the University of Rostock in northern Germany before becoming a Systems Engineer at the Institute of Aerospace Engineering. It was there that he met his future founding partners, Patrick and Evgeni, and together succeeded in developing solid rockets – and breaking the German altitude record for German student rockets – in 2015. As part of his master’s thesis, Tony developed a 3m 3D-printed rocket, reducing production costs by 90%. In 2017, Tony graduated with a degree in Aerospace Engineering, and has been working as the CEO of his collaborative start-up, Augmented Robotics, ever since.

Evgeni Melan

CTO & Founder

Evgeni studied Space Technology at the Technical University of Berlin (TU Berlin). Aside from his studies, he worked on the research project “Intelligent Building Blocks for On-Orbit Satellite Servicing and Assembly 3” at the Institute of Aerospace Engineering and developed electronics and software for modular satellites. For his master’s thesis he developed an innovative software communication module for use in space, which enables a new generation of robots to reliably communicate with each other.

Patrick Bethke

CIO & Founder

While studying Technical Mathematics at the Technical University of Berlin (TU Berlin), Patrick used his notable ability to design and implement software projects on the bourgeoning field of augmented reality. During his time at the German Aerospace Centre in Berlin, he gained the extensive experience in the field of software development.

Christian Schütte

CFO

Christian has been the CFO of Augmented Robotics since 2019. He has been working in the VC space for 20 years (as the Managing Partner of a VC fund and a board member of investor-funded companies, among others), and is currently leading a seed round with Augmented Robotics. In addition to these main activities, Christian also takes care of corporate strategy, including the recruitment of new key positions, the formulation of partner strategies and the negotiation of key contracts.

Douglas Wong

Sales Director

Douglas is a seasoned entrepreneur, investor and mentor with over 30 years of experience in the toy, education and computer hardware industries. He is an expert in sales and marketing, finance and logistics and corporate strategy. Throughout his career he founded – and sold – several successful companies. Douglas has been supporting Augmented Robotics as Sales Director since April 2021, and as a Business Angel since August 2021.

Richard Woest

Operations Manager

Richard completed his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in technically oriented Business Administration at the University of Stuttgart, then quickly moved to supporting the controlling department of an automotive supplier in the area. After that, he worked for a leading media company in Stuttgart, and found his home at Augmented Robotics in 2020.

Christie Elizabeth

Marketing Director

Christie is a graduate of McGill and Concordia Universities in her native Canada, and has over 10 years of experience with PR and marketing in Europe. She came to Augmented Robotics just over a year ago from the FMCG logistics industry, excited to help bring a new era of play into the mainstream.

 

Aside from the management, over a dozen dedicated individuals are working tirelessly to turn your dreams into reality. In the coming 24 months, we are looking to grow to a team of about 50 people.
 

Innovation

Our technology and solutions can be integrated into new products as well as existing physical toys, and our RoboHeart board can control remote-controlled toys easily via app. The amazing power of smartphones has allowed us to create something where even toys without any electronic components can be integrated into augmented reality gameplay by incorporating them into the real environment around you. For example, with our technology virtual car races can be carried out not only with a game console on your TV, but anywhere – live in your garden, your playroom, or even at a friend’s house. Augmented Robotics offers countless virtual adventures that have only previously been known with location-based games, such as Pokémon Go or Wizards Unite. We believe that in five years’ time, every piece of play equipment will have a digital component – just as we take it as a given that a smartphone will have a camera.

     

RoboBrain, a technology we developed for dynamically recognising objects in a physical area via smartphone, and RoboLink, a technology we developed for connecting toys with smartphones, were filed for EU patents in December of 2020. The PCT application for the two patents was filed in December 2021.

With our app, model RC vehicles can be controlled while you collect virtual items and avoid virtual obstacles, either alone or with friends (think of Nintendo’s Mario Kart racing game). Augmented Robotics' RoboHeart hardware module is capable of handling all communication protocols, making it act as a universal remote control.

Many customers do not wish to change their hardware, or distribute toys without electronics such as dolls, action figures, plastic kits, Matchbox cars, board games and others. With our artificial intelligence, we can recognize these toys and create an AR world around them.

The value and potential applications of our products increases with the number of AR games available. Because of this, our main focus after entering the market will be on the development of augmented reality software for third parties. This will enable both users and game studios to generate their own content, while also facilitating professional content from big studios and independent developers using a Unity interface (Preview: https://youtu.be/j3x51QJQBug).

With the technology we have developed, numerous projects have been planned with some of our high-profile partners, including a world-leading Japanese entertainment company, as well as several Polish game studios.

We have also been developing a number of projects in-house, including an AR small car game called Zombie Crasher, a collectible doll game based on Funko’s Wonder Woman, and a RoboHeart RC game using a Revell RC truck.

Products

B2C

The migration towards digital media is no longer just a trend… but is here to stay. With Augmented Robotics, children will be able to bring their ‘Toy Story’ dolls to life, while still being able to keep a foot in their physical reality. While ‘screen’ has become a bad word for parents, our technology encourages outdoor activity and social interaction.

Furthermore, with the RoboGO platform, customers are regularly offered new, professional game content from third parties, as well as being able to upload their own showcases.

A smartphone as a universal remote control is a sustainable model for controlling RC products, and – with the ease of remote updating – can adapt educational programs, textbooks and construction kits with ease.


B2B

The gaming framework developed by Augmented Robotics allows professional game studios and independent developers to enter a new niche market and dominate it from the start.

As an e-commerce platform, toy companies can generate additional revenue (from both digital and physical products) while earning well-deserved customer loyalty and an elevated sales base. Smartphone users with an interest in analogue toys can be made aware of RoboGO and the latest AR-enabled toys via Google and App stores.

Unique Selling Proposition

Above all else, Augmented Robotics connects the digital world with the real world, especially in the spheres of toys, games and playgrounds. This allows digital activities to be experienced outside, which is a healthier option for gamers. Our neural network, RoboBrain, recognizes the position of toys with the help of smartphones, enabling interaction with AR content.

     

Our tech gives game manufacturers the opportunity to participate in the digitisation of their industry and expand their market share via an attractive licensing model without significant development costs. With the Unity interface, indie developers and professional game studios are given a tool to offer digital content for analogue game products. To date, there is no comparable offering on the market that incorporates a similar technical innovation.

Business model and sales

Augmented Robotics’ business model consists of the sale of B2C products as well as the licencing of technology to B2B partners. In the area of B2C products, two lighthouse projects are still planned for the second half of 2022. This will test our technology on as many different types of smartphone as possible and provide us with quality feedback from users. In addition, the first building blocks of the RoboHeart technology will be tested.

In the B2B sector, licensing to toy companies and game studios is ongoing. To date (in the toy sector), Revell GmbH and RM Resources have been acquired as paying customers, but we expect this number to increase soon as further promising negotiations are currently underway. Revell and Carrera have even announced their cooperation with us in an article in "Welt"

Thanks to the excellent network of our investors in the industry, we have already been able to conclude a framework agreement for the development of five mobile games with two Polish companies. Game studios are showing very high interest in Augmented Robotics.

To further expand our sales activities, we have gained access to the sales accelerator 70V. 70V is based in Lithuania and is considered one of the most renowned sales VCs in Europe. A subsidiary is currently being established there to build a sales team, of which Douglas Wong will be the Managing Director.

RoboGO will grow organically over the next few years, as a meaningful shell of our own showcases and third-party projects. Our B2B partners are free to use RoboGO, or publish their own apps. For SMEs, however, it may make sense to fall back on an existing game collection with existing users. In this way, both the toy industry and the mobile industry benefit from each other in a win-win situation. The monetization options described above (advertising, in-app purchases, DLCs, affiliate marketing, multiplayer subscriptions) are inserted at the optimal time in each case.

Market and target group

Augmented Robotics GmbH connects the over €100 billion, under-digitized toy market – which has been stagnant for years – with the €131 billion, extremely fast-growing and innovative mobile games market. The market for augmented reality games has barely been reached so far, occupied only by powerhouse companies like Nintendo, Niantic (Pokémon Go) and Lego. Medium-sized companies have not yet had the opportunity to position themselves in this field. While the toy market has been stagnating for three years, the market for smartphone games grew from €27 billion in 2015, to around €131 billion in 2022. The share of smartphone games in the overall games market rose 33% in six years.

In Germany alone, 34.3 million people regularly play mobile games. The average age of German gamers is 35, but we see 8 to 14-year-olds as the target group for AR gaming. Our partners from the mobile sector focus on 16 to 40-year-olds, with their applications using our technology.

Objectives and use of capital

  • Expansion of game development
    • Finalisation of lighthouse projects
    • Development of further showcases for long-running toys (fire department, police, astronaut, etc.)

 

  • Research and development
    • Further development of the neural network for ground position determination
    • Research of a neural network for three-dimensional position determination of moving objects in a physical area with smartphones
    • Further development of proprietary RoboHeart technology

 

  • Expansion of sales, marketing and business development
    • Additional employees for sales, marketing and business development
    • Participation in trade fairs
    • Marketing activities

Successes to date

The founders drafted the business plan for Augmented Robotics in the summer of 2016. From July 2018 to June 2019, they received an EXIST start-up grant (€125T). Since Jan. 1, 2020, the venture has been supported by Pro FIT early-stage funding from Investitionsbank Berlin (€500T), with additional Pro FIT funding in November 2020 (€800T).

RoboBrain, a technology developed by Augmented Robotics to dynamically recognize objects in physical space via smartphone, and RoboLink, a technology they developed to connect toys with smartphones, were filed for EU patent in December 2020. The PCT application for the two patents was filed in December 2021, and the patenting is partially funded by the WIPANO grant. Drafting of the initial license agreements (with well-known toy manufacturers) was carried out in cooperation with the legal experts, Dentons. The foundation of a UG (haftungsbeschränkt) took place on 12.06.2019 in Berlin, with the conversion into a GmbH in December 2020.

Augmented Robotics was awarded the Innovation World Cup (IoT/WT Finalist) in Barcelona, a laureate of start2grow 2019, the first place at the BPW competition, and awarded the renowned start-up competition for digital innovations by the German government. The company was also among the Top 50 Start-Ups 2019 from www.fuer-gruender.de. ...we are especially proud of the first prize of the Deep Tech Awards 2020 in the field of IoT!

Augmented Robotics was selected as one of the most innovative companies in the toy market to pitch digitally in New York at this years’ Creative Factor Inventor Day 2022 in front of Disney, Hasbro, JAZWARES, SPIN MASTER and others. The initial feedback has already been very positive. This has been supported by the fact that we were easily accepted into the Sony Startup Acceleration Program, the Nvidia (leading graphics card manufacturer) Inception Program and the Niantic (Pokémon Go) Managed Partners Program.

Top reasons for an investment

  • We have a great team with complementary skills
  • Management expertise with track record from toy industry and venture capital
  • Technological edge and protection through know-how and patents
  • Highly beneficial for traditional toy manufacturers
  • Perfect timing for an investment: Most of the technical development is completed and already financed
  • Two first paying customers from the toy industry
  • Scalable business model (we already have a leading Japanese entertainment company and three Polish studios on board)
  • Augmented Robotics has undergone extensive due diligence by a VC and a strategic partner. This, together with BAs, has led to an initial equity financing of €670T
  • Participation of a well-known company from the entertainment industry

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