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Academy of Robotics raises £4M from multiple investments over 3 years

Published:  Jul 28, 2022

Flexible fundraising is helping Academy of Robotics to scale its operations to meet the growing demand for its autonomous robotic technology. SeedLegals’ SeedFAST product has helped the company behind Kar-go, Europe’s first street-legal vehicle designed for autonomous delivery, to close deals worth over £4 million and save over £10,000 in legal fees.*

* Money saved on legal fees estimated by comparing the cost of using SeedLegals with the cost of using a law firm which, according to our research, charge an average fee of 0.85% of the amount raised.

The elevator pitch 🚀

Karo Go Pic 2

Academy of Robotics is a technology company which provides autonomous robotics to solve the challenge of moving anything from A to B. The team creates technology to help large organisations to move items from A to B without increasing financial or environmental costs.

The company’s flagship project is Kar-go, a complete autonomous delivery system which enables organisations to simply plug-in our tech, delivering automated vehicle solutions in weeks, not years.

Academy of Robotics was founded by serial entrepreneur William Sachiti in 2016, a year after his previous company was acquired by Secret Escapes.

The challenge: Time ⏰

In 2018, founder William Sachiti became one of the first customers of SeedLegals.

“Back then, we were a small startup with a big idea. We had to keep our operation as lean as possible, so we primarily used SeedLegals to keep our costs down.”

But William quickly realised that there was more to SeedLegals than simply providing affordable legal services.

A serial entrepreneur, who had recently exited his last business to Secret Escapes and a major taxi company, William already had a strong investor network. The combination of his own network and a recent crowdfunding campaign meant he needed to set up over 300 people as investors in Academy of Robotics.

“Persuading someone to invest in your company is just part of the challenge. Many investors are often happy to invest the funds, but just don’t have the time to spend on the administrative side of this. Some of our investors are some of the most successful professional investors in the UK, but when they’re investing in a private capacity they are particularly time-poor.

“When you’re a startup CEO, your time is incredibly precious and you need to be careful to allocate time to the work that is really driving your business forwards. That could mean you turn away smaller investments, so the real beauty of SeedLegals is the way it takes the pain away from both the investor and the business.

“Using SeedLegals we’ve gone from meeting an investor to agreeing terms to paperwork being issued and signed and money transferred in less than three minutes!”

The company attracted plenty of attention while running road trials with their autonomous vehicles since November 2020. These included high profile trials ranging from supporting airbase logistics for the Royal Air Force to delivering medicines during the pandemic. With a steady stream of investment enquiries, the company adding over 400 new investors in 2022.

“Were always being asked about investment opportunities, ranging from investing a few hundred pounds to hundreds of thousands so it’s important for us to be able to offer multiple routes to invest in our company.

“Raising investment from retail investors is, in many ways, more complicated than from your typical VC, which I’d done at my previous company, but SeedLegals streamlines the whole process. Without companies like SeedLegals, onboarding hundreds of investors and setting up all the legal documents for this would be prohibitively expensive and incredibly time-consuming.”

How SeedLegals helped 📋

1. Integrating with crowdfunding legals

At SeedLegals, we have the expertise to guide users through the crowdfunding process because we’ve worked with founders on over 200 crowdfunded rounds. A hybrid approach (crowdfunding platform + SeedLegals) means that startups like Academy of Robotics can rely on us during and/or after a crowdfund.

By using SeedLegals to assist your crowdfunding rounds:

  • Our investment experts are in your corner to answer questions from the crowdfund platform (and there often are questions) and to help you push back on any unusual terms.
  • We help you cater for specific terms requested by angels or VC investors. Usually crowdfunding platforms have their own document templates but some investors have further requests.

2. Raising smaller funds on an ongoing basis

Since Academy of Robotics initial crowdfunding campaign, William’s team have used more services on SeedLegals, including SeedFAST. Launched in 2019, SeedFASTs are an Advance Subscription Agreement which allows investors to subscribe for shares in a company’s next funding round in exchange for cash now.

“SeedFASTs have been somewhat of a revelation. We’ve been using SeedFASTs extensively during the last few years to raise anything from £500 to £100,000 on an ongoing basis.”

SeedFASTs benefit both Academy of Robotics and its investors, which William finds compelling:

“Timing is everything. SeedFASTs benefit us because it means we can close funding opportunities as soon as they present themselves. And they benefit our investors, who get a slight discount on future shares and don’t have to wait for a big fundraising opportunity to invest. Using SeedFAST agreements, we can be continually open for investment.”

A number of current investors in Academy of Robotics have been investors for several years – either since the company’s first crowdfunding round, or since the company premiered its Kar-go Delivery Bot vehicles at Goodwood Festival of Speed in 2019. As the company has hit further milestones, such as its vehicles being officially recognised as roadworthy by the DVSA, and licensed to travel on roads across the UK, some of the company’s investors have wanted to increase their investments. SeedLegals was ready to help:

“When you’re managing hundreds of investors, simple functions such as auto-filling personal details for people already on the platform make a big difference. We can generate an agreement for existing users on SeedLegals in seconds, making it much easier for them to top-up and increase their investments.”

With SeedFASTs, add your investor and select the terms to generate the legal document in minutes.
Need help selecting the terms? Unlimited help from our expert team is included.

The impact: 📣

Academy of Robotics has used SeedLegals to close over £4 million from government and private investors since 2018, as part of their broader £20 million raise.

“I think it’s fair to say that the fast and low-cost legal facilities that SeedLegals provides has enabled us to open up investment opportunities in Academy of Robotics in a way that just wouldn’t have been practical without them. It means we can maintain a lean organisation, focused on innovation and R&D, and retain a higher degree of independence to move at a rapid, yet responsible pace.”

The company has filed many complex patents and continues to add to their list of patents.

“We’re powering forward. We’ve acquired a major new site, a 26 acre radar base in the UK, complete with our own testing track. We’re currently renovating this heritage site to restore its role as a beacon of technological excellence, adapting its existing hangars and military offices to become state-of-the-art offices and manufacturing facilities for autonomous robotic research and development.”

The new site will allow Academy of Robotics to ramp up production of their autonomous delivery vehicles, along with further innovations which the company is developing for its customers in the construction and healthcare sector, as well as helping the company expand their existing logistics work with the Royal Air Force.

Discover more at the Academy of Robotics website

Kar Go On The Airfield In Front Of 47 Ad Dakota Model (1)

“With the support of partners like SeedLegals, we’ve also been doing our bit to help the next generation of innovators with the launch of an audio course on Clubhouse. We explore a range of topics, from running a startup to product design, convergence of tech and culture.”

Ready to close your funding round in record time?

To find out how SeedLegals can help, book a free call with one of our funding specialists 👇

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