Fashion magnate Maezawa takes stake in ‘affectionate’ robot venture

Fashion magnate Maezawa takes stake in ‘affectionate’ robot venture

By Makiko Yamazaki and Sam Nussey

TOKYO (Reuters) – A Japanese condition-backed fund mentioned on Tuesday it bought its total stake in robotics startup Groove X, which makes an “affectionate” companion robot, to a fund owned by Japanese style billionaire Yusaku Maezawa.

The point out fund, INCJ, 4 decades back invested 3.5 billion yen ($29.6 million) in Groove X, which was established by an alumni of SoftBank Team Corp’s robotics device. It did not disclose the rate of the sale to the Maezawa fund and declined to say if it created a financial gain.

Maezawa “showed a potent fascination in the notion of a dwelling robotic as providing a resolution to social issues,” INCJ explained in a assertion providing its rationale for the exit.

The Lovot, an amalgam of “appreciate” and “robot”, has wheels and resembles a penguin with cartoonish human eyes. It has interchangeable outfits and communicates in squeaks.

Groove X in the past lifted cash from buyers this sort of as a Toyota Motor Corp-backed fund and chat app operator Line Corp.

Maezawa, who late previous yr visited the Intercontinental Area Station on a Russian rocket, designed his fortune founding the on-line vogue retailer Zozo which was purchased by SoftBank’s web company.

By his fund Maezawa has invested in ventures which includes a single generating clever cat-litter trays which analyse rest room practices and monitor animal health and a further that provides personalised films from celebs.

(Reporting by Makiko Yamazaki modifying by Richard Pullin)