Japan fashion magnate Maezawa buys ‘affectionate’ robot venture


TOKYO, March 15 (Reuters) – Japanese fashion magnate Yusaku Maezawa is purchasing robotics startup Groove X, which helps make an “affectionate” companion robotic, stating on Tuesday he was drawn by its potential to “make people truly feel content”.

A fund owned by Maezawa has taken a vast majority stake in the startup, started by an alumni of SoftBank Team Corp’s (9984.T) robotics business, and will move to full possession in April, Groove X claimed, without delivering even further element.

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

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Lovot “won’t be able to clean or do perform but I see significant probable in a presence that can make individuals really feel joyful, particularly at this time,” Maezawa said in the statement.

Groove X earlier elevated 8 billion yen ($67.6 million) from buyers which include cash backed by the Japanese authorities and Toyota Motor Corp (7203.T).

The point out fund, INCJ, mentioned seperately on Tuesday it experienced marketed its stake to Maezawa for an undisclosed amount. It declined to say if it built a gain.

Maezawa “confirmed a powerful desire in the notion of a residence robotic as offering a solution to social difficulties,” INCJ stated.

The entrepreneur, who visited the Global Space Station on a Russian rocket final 12 months, manufactured his fortune founding the on the web fashion retailer Zozo which was acquired by SoftBank’s world-wide-web enterprise.

By his fund Maezawa has invested in ventures these kinds of as a maker of sensible cat-litter trays that analyses toilet routines and tracks animal well being and yet another offering personalised video clips from superstars.

($1 = 118.3100 yen)

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Reporting by Makiko Yamazaki modifying by Richard Pullin

Our Criteria: The Thomson Reuters Have faith in Ideas.


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