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Gecko Robotics, a company that provides industrial robotics and asset management software for businesses such as BP and Duke Energy, has raised $73.3 million in a series C round of funding.

The raise comes shortly after the American Society of Civil Engineers issued its latest U.S. Infrastructure Report Card, doling out a C-minus grade across all categories, from roads and hazardous waste, to broadband and energy. Gecko Robotics, for its part, focuses specifically on supporting “essential industries” such as power generation, heavy manufacturing, and oil and gas.

Founded out of Pittsburgh in 2013, Gecko’s wall-traversing robots help companies capture infrastructure data at scale, searching for weaknesses or damage to aging assets such as pipelines, tanks, boilers, and ship hulls. It’s partly about safety, both in terms of protecting humans when carrying out dangerous inspection work and averting injuries caused by faulty equipment.

“Gecko makes the inspection process safer, more efficient, and more thorough,” Gecko cofounder and CEO Jake Loosararian told VentureBeat. “Gecko eliminates the need for people to enter into confined spaces during inspections, reducing the risk for injury. It also allows for high-signal inspections to be performed from the outside of assets like tanks, pipes and boilers, reducing forced outages and production stoppages.”


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Show me the data

Safety aside, Gecko is also about capturing vast swathes of data that is difficult to capture through more traditional manual methods. Rapid Ultrasonic Gridding (RUG), for example, entails a robot carrying out an ultrasonic inspection of a critical asset such as a tank or boiler.

Gecko robot in action

In turn, this generates “thickness grid maps” to identify any regions of the asset where the walls may have thinned due to corrosion or other environmental impact. This replaces traditional hand-held gridding technologies which might not be as thorough, takes more time, and is ultimately more hazardous.

“Our human-operated robots can collect data faster and at greater volumes than traditional inspection methods, and Gecko’s software allows engineers and managers to make informed decisions about the operations of their facilities and their capital expenditures,” Loosararian added.

Gecko Robotics: Thickness grid maps

Prior to now, Gecko had raised around $49 million, and with another $73.3 million in the bank the company is well-financed to make good on its mission to “…protect today’s critical infrastructure, and give form to tomorrow’s.”

In truth, the need to protect and maintain infrastructure extends far beyond Gecko’s current industrial focus, which can be defined as “oil and gas,” “power,” and “pulp and paper.” Indeed, what about other industries, such as telecommunications or IT infrastructure?

That is precisely what Gecko’s fresh cash injection could be put toward, though the company didn’t specify which industries it may extend into.

“At this time, Gecko is focused on supporting the most critical industries with the most vulnerable infrastructure, including oil and gas, energy, and defense,” Loosararian explained. “Some of these industries’ assets have been in use for fifty to sixty years, and this aging means increased risk for structural damage, environmental contamination, and injuries to the workers who operate and maintain these facilities. As we continue to scale our operations and refine our product offerings, especially in the wake of this latest funding round, Gecko is conscious of opportunities to bring our services to adjacent industries.”

Gecko’s series C round was led by XN, with participation from Founders Fund, XYZ, Drive Capital, Snowpoint Ventures, and a slew of angel investors including Mark Cuban, Joe Lonsdale, and Gokul Rajaram.

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