Robin, the Boston-based company creating an Internet of Things system for businesses, announced today that it has secured a strategic partnership with Japanese technology company Konica Minolta and is making its products available to the public.
The new partnership is a huge step forward for upstart Robin, which only began to beta test its product this summer.
Robin spun out of digital agency One Mighty Roar, and is focused on sensor-based technologies and workplace automation. The company’s aim is to build a smart office, and among its software’s many features are shared calendars and responsive conference rooms that sense an employee’s arrival and push that information to fellow employees (a team member who may have forgotten a meeting, for example).
Having been to Robin’s office/laboratory in Downtown Crossing, I can assert that its vision for the connected office goes far beyond knowing who has booked a conference room and when. The company has products in development that range from the silly and fun, like an employee’s favorite song playing when they walk into a room, to the practical, like specific-to-a-person phone chargers popping out of desks when they arrive in an office.
Robin is already working with 150 organization, and opened up its application programming interface (better known as an API), for other companies to develop new and interesting uses with its smart office technology.
Which makes the partnership with Konica Minolta very intriguing. The Japanese corporation is one of the leading producers of office-focused products that include copiers, printers, fax machines. By joining forces with Robin, Konica Minolta is betting on an interest in more connected offices. The backing of Konica Minolta gives instant credibility to the vision of the Robin team.
In a statement, Ekta Sahasi, the vice president of Konica Minolta’s Business Innovation Center in California, said of the partnership, “We are excited to be partnering closely with Robin Powered and are really impressed with how they are leveraging presence sensing technology to define the workplace of the future.”
The partnership includes an investment in Robin by Konica Minolta, but terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.
When it launched in beta in July, the company announced that it had raised $1.4 million in seed funding from Atlas Venture, Deep Fork Capital, Boldstart Ventures, and Space Pirates. In addition to Konica Minolta, Robin is also adding funding from other investors, including Fundfire, angel investor Ty Danco, and others