iRobot buys Evolution Robotics, makers of the Evolution Mint

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iRobot buys Evolution Robotics, makers of the Evolution Mint

Postby robotreviews » September 17th, 2012, 6:26 pm

iRobot Acquires Evolution Robotics, makers of the Evolution Mint, for $74 Million Dollars.

iRobot announced today that it has acquired Evolution Robotics, makers of the Evolution Mint robotic floor cleaner. The Evolution Mint floor cleaner isn't known as much for it's cleaning prowess as it is for it's advanced Northstar navigation and vSLAM room mapping system. Both of these systems are far more advanced than the simple blind algorithms that are currently used in existing Roomba and Scooba products, so hopefully iRobot will be incorporating this new technology into their products in the near future.


Press Release:

Expands Position as Global Robotic Floor Care Market-Leader

BEDFORD, Mass., September 17, 2012 – iRobot Corp. (NASDAQ: IRBT), a leader in delivering robotic technology-based solutions, today announced it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire privately-held Evolution Robotics, Inc. (ER), developer of Mint® and Mint® Plus automatic floor cleaning robots, based in Pasadena, California. The acquisition and the definitive agreement have been approved by the board of directors of iRobot and the board of directors and stockholders of ER. The acquisition, which is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2012, expands iRobot’s technology leadership through a combination of intellectual property, engineering talent and new products that will broaden iRobot’s global portfolio of practical robotics solutions. iRobot will acquire ER for $74 million, subject to customary purchase price adjustments. iRobot will use its cash reserves to pay for the acquisition.

ER’s technology originated in 2001 in a technology company incubator. In 2010, ER launched Mint®, an automatic floor cleaning robot designed exclusively for hard surface floors, which offers a different approach to cleaning than iRobot’s current products. Mint automatically dusts and damp mops hard surface floors using popular cleaning cloths, such as Swiffer® brand Dry and Wet Cloths and other similar products. In 2011, ER expanded its product line with the introduction of Mint® Plus, an enhanced version. Both products have been available for purchase on ER’s website and from select U.S. retailers. Mint®provides iRobot with a complementary dry/wet floor cleaning solution ideally suited for maintenance of hard surfaces. Positive customer experience has driven strong revenue growth since its first product introduction in 2010. Mint® provides lower market entry points for customers with hard floors.

“Evolution Robotics’ products will expand our automated floor care offerings while its technology and intellectual property will bring visual navigation and simultaneous localization and mapping, among other technologies, which could be deployed in future iRobot products to deliver greater customer value,” said Colin Angle, iRobot chairman and CEO. “There are tremendous opportunities to leverage the strength of the iRobot brand and our sales and distribution network to expand Mint product sales around the world. Robotic floor cleaners are one of the fastest growing consumer products in the past few years and our retailers and distributors welcome opportunities to fuel that growth.”

“I am also pleased to announce that Paolo Pirjanian, CEO of Evolution Robotics, will be joining iRobot as Chief Technology Officer, continuing to be based in the Pasadena office. I have known Paolo for many years and his extensive experience as an industry-leading roboticist will greatly enhance our team,” Angle added.

“I am very excited about Evolution Robotics and iRobot joining together as a formidable force in robotic technology and look forward to my new role as iRobot’s CTO,” said Paolo Pirjanian, CEO of Evolution Robotics, Inc.

The acquisition is expected to contribute additional revenue of $4-6 million in 2012 and $22-24 million in 2013. On a GAAP basis, iRobot expects the acquisition to be dilutive in 2012 and 2013, subject to final purchase price accounting determinations. The acquisition is expected to be accretive by Q4 2013, excluding non-cash charges, one-time charges and integration costs. Please refer to the supplemental data sheet attached hereto for detailed information about the financial impact of the transaction.
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Re: iRobot buys Evolution Robotics, makers of the Evolution

Postby Fraggboy » September 17th, 2012, 6:35 pm

WOW!! Buy up the smaller start-up companies.. Less competition.
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Re: iRobot buys Evolution Robotics, makers of the Evolution

Postby mfortuna » September 17th, 2012, 9:56 pm

That is good news and bad news IMHO.

Irobot gets a company that has advanced navigation.

$75 million is not a lot of money, not sure how the Evolution investors will make out. Fire sale comes to mind but I don't have enough information to back that up.

One less competitor.
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Re: iRobot buys Evolution Robotics, makers of the Evolution

Postby vic7767 » September 17th, 2012, 10:17 pm

Lets hope we wind up with a much better robot.
Roomba and Neato Mods, come visit: http://www.vic7767.com/

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Re: iRobot buys Evolution Robotics, makers of the Evolution

Postby assuncap » September 18th, 2012, 4:27 am

I don't believe the mint was real competition. It was more of an alternative product then a direct competition to the scooba. IRobot I sure they will integrate the mint in there product portfolio, they will end up with the most a complete line of products in the market.

Technology wise I don't believe that what Evolution Robotics had was out of reach for IRobot's Engineering department, even if they look a bit a sleep lately. Most likely ER had some nice patent portfolio that IRobot wanted.
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Re: iRobot buys Evolution Robotics, makers of the Evolution

Postby Koontzy » September 18th, 2012, 6:46 am

I hope they will do a firesale with the mint ;)
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Re: iRobot buys Evolution Robotics, makers of the Evolution

Postby Edan-Grossman » September 18th, 2012, 5:54 pm

I don't think that this is bad for us consumers, I actually think that this is a big win for consumers and the robot market in general.

An acquisition like this could provide Evolution with resources that they never had. They could have access to Irobot's assembly line which could mean lower production costs and overall lower prices of the robots.

I think it's fair to speculate an upcoming roomba with Evolution Navigation technology built in.

Evolution will probably continue to make and sell their Mint robots as they currently do and Irobot could have an exact copy of their robots, but with Irobot's name and logo attached to it.

So, for now there probably won't be anything different for the next month or so, but after that, we might have something very exciting to look forward to after the acquisition is complete. I say that this is a big win for consumers and the robot market in general.
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Re: iRobot buys Evolution Robotics, makers of the Evolution

Postby Fraggboy » September 18th, 2012, 6:01 pm

IMHO, I think iRobot will not lower their prices anytime soon. From the trend, they are increasing prices with very little update.

You would think they would pool the resources to possibly cut manufacturing costs, but I don't think the consumers will see the savings..


..Just my $0.02. (Would be nice if I'm wrong)
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Re: iRobot buys Evolution Robotics, makers of the Evolution

Postby Jaroslav » September 18th, 2012, 8:32 pm

It is strange that in 2012, iRobot robots are so stupid. So hopefully they make them more intelligent now and challenge Neato.
Interesting that they couldn't do it themselves and needed to buy someone else.
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Re: iRobot buys Evolution Robotics, makers of the Evolution

Postby assuncap » September 19th, 2012, 4:59 am

I have never seen or used a Mint, so I don't know how good the navigation is. The main problem of using a beacon for navigation is that you need to have one in each room, but I guess IRobot likes to sell overpriced accessories so maybe that's a good thing (for them).
For me as a consumer, owner of a Roomba 560 and a Neato XV-15 and Tec addict , the question is will this make the Roomba better then the Neato and when can I get one? I'm wondering how long will IRobot need to have a NorthStar equiped Roomba in stores.
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Re: iRobot buys Evolution Robotics, makers of the Evolution

Postby mfortuna » September 20th, 2012, 6:48 am

The way my downstairs is laid out I can place a beacon such that the Mint will clean two rooms. The Mint doesn't have to be in constant line-of-sight to do a good job mapping.

After living with roombas for 7+ years I still think the fancy navigation of a Neato or Mint is really not needed. I am very happy with the roomba's cleaning results.
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Re: iRobot buys Evolution Robotics, makers of the Evolution

Postby Fraggboy » September 20th, 2012, 12:32 pm

I also like the random navigation as well. Robotic vacuums don't have a powerful vacuum to pull the debris that has been trampled on in one pass. It might get a lot of the dirt/debris, but how much is left over? Even running a random navigation robot will still leave debris left in the carpet. Logically speaking, if a vacuum goes over a spot more than once, it should pick up more debris.

..Just my $0.02 worth.
I have owned both types of robotic vacuum cleaners (random navigation, as well as mapped navigation).

Didn't mean to steer off-topic. Sorry.

I'm hoping that iRobot can use Evolution's technology, and redesign the Roomba completely! I want to be "Wow'ed" by them while staying practical and useful.
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Re: iRobot buys Evolution Robotics, makers of the Evolution

Postby mfortuna » September 20th, 2012, 1:45 pm

I agree with Chris on the prices. The new 630 series is $350. You used to be able to get an entry level roomba red for less than $150. The red didn't have aerovac but I think the cleaning performance would be very similar to a 630.
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Re: iRobot buys Evolution Robotics, makers of the Evolution

Postby assuncap » September 21st, 2012, 12:06 pm

Fraggboy wrote:I'm hoping that iRobot can use Evolution's technology, and redesign the Roomba completely! I want to be "Wow'ed" by them while staying practical and useful.

Same here!
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Re: iRobot buys Evolution Robotics, makers of the Evolution

Postby iPedro » November 13th, 2012, 11:40 am

I've been holding off on upgrading my 4 year old Roomba because I've been a little less than impressed with where iRobot has gone in all these years. Mint made me realize that. Their Northstar guiding system is brilliant!

The cleaning mechanism is the same so my problem with hair getting caught up in the gears wont be resolved and the navigation is still random. It might work, but it takes more time and eats up battery life. A more efficient robot that knows where its going would get things done faster and save battery life so it wouldnt have to be replaced as often.

When I went on iRobot's site to have a look at the Scooba, I was confused to see Mint there in the lineup! haha! Then I came on here to find out that they've just been acquired. Best of both worlds I think! Let's see a Roomba with Northstar please. I'm holding off buying anything until I see this happen or until Dyson shocks the industry and finally launches their powerful suction robot. Now that Im willing to pay big bucks for.
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Re: iRobot buys Evolution Robotics, makers of the Evolution

Postby iPedro » September 6th, 2013, 9:41 pm

My Roomba died today so it forced my hand. I was patiently waiting for either iRobot's purchase of Mint to trickle through to the Roomba or for Dyson to finally release what they've been working on.

I was pleased to find that iRobot has taken the first step by just recently rebranding the Mint to Braava. Perfect timing! Yet, having lived with one for 7 years, I was still convinced that I needed a new Roomba and I would reluctantly buy a new Roomba knowing that probably in a year or so, iRobot is bound to release a NorthStar compatible Roomba.

When I arrived at the store, I was put off by the $800 price for the top of the line Roomba and seeing the Braava next to it priced below $300 made me take another look. I have no carpeting and only a few rugs that I can pick up when floor cleaning. The wet cleaning sold me. My Roomba was great at keeping my floors clear of dust and debris but I still had to WetJet my home manually. I didn't mind it but having my place regularly wet mopped as regularly as Roomba has made me take advantage of daily vacuuming sounded enticing. Bonus: it's so quiet, I could do it every night while I and my dog are sound asleep and wake up to a clean home every morning! That's it! I chose the Braava over a new Roomba.

I arrived home and set the Braava for a test and even though the Roomba had just cleaned the kitchen before it finally expired of old age earlier in the day, the Braava managed to collect a ton of smaller debris in its microfibre cloth. Wow! This is the future right here folks.

As a bonus, and as a pet owner, it's reassuring that the Braava doesn't pass dirt, hair and other debris through its insides. My Roomba was killed by just too much hair being lodged inside the gear box. The resistance caused the plastic structure to be ground to the point where the gears wobbled around in the box and the brushes no longer spun. The Braava pushes dirt around and eventually catches it in its microfibre cloth. No dirt actually enters the machine.

While I was cheating on the Roomba and replacing it with a Braava, I told myself that I'd eventually be adding a NorthStar enabled Roomba vacuum to the fleet when and if it's released. But I'm beginning to think that for a carpetless home, the Braava will be up to the full time job.
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Re: iRobot buys Evolution Robotics, makers of the Evolution

Postby Roombascoobatastic » September 7th, 2013, 11:32 am

A better use of northstar technology would be in a future iRobot lawn mower. It would cut straight lines in your lawn automatically! IMO the Roomba cleans better than I ever dreamed, so I'm not looking for any improvement there.
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