Bedford’s iRobot buys California robot maker
Bedford's iRobot Corp., maker of the Roomba vacuum cleaner, will buy California robot maker Evolution Robotics Inc. for $74 million, adding a new line of floor-cleaning robots to its suite of consumer and military robots. Evolution Robotics’ Mint, designed to automatically clean wood floors, sells for about $200.
iRobot chief executive Colin Angle said his company plans to focus on growing the overseas market for Mint, in Asia and Europe, for example, where Roomba is already a popular product. Mint is a small square-shaped machine that has an on-board navigation system to clean floors while avoiding furniture or carpeting.
“Most Mint owners also own a Roomba, so they use the products in tandem,” Angle said.
The Evolution Robotics acquisition will also bring new technical talent to iRobot, Angle said. “The other half of this story is part of iRobot’s strategy to acquire rights to what we consider to be the key intellectual property in the robot space,” he said. Evolution Robotics has about 30 employees at its headquarters in Pasadena, Calif.
The deal comes as iRobot faces some uncertainty on the defense side of its business with the Pentagon looking at cutting $450 billion from its budget over the next 10 years. Angle said the military portion of iRobot remains “an important long-term business.”Michael B. Farrell can be reached at email@example.com.