LAS VEGAS -- A tech startup that took advantage of the downtown Las Vegas incubator scene at The Ogden residential complex and rapidly grew into a 20-employee company announced Friday that it is moving to the San Francisco Bay Area.
The announcement from Romotive CEO Keller Rinaudo came in a letter posted on the Downtown Project website to the valley's tech community in which he indicated that the move will occur over the next three months.
"Ultimately, our goal at Romotive is to build the world's first affordable personal robot," Rinaudo wrote. "It's my responsibility to make sure that Romotive is located where we are most likely to achieve this vision.
"As we scale over the next few years, our focus will be on working in close proximity to strategic partners and hiring brilliant senior talent that can take our robotics focus to the next level. That's the reason that we have decided to move to the Bay Area."
The company, which began in 2011 with three founders, invented a smartphone-driven robot called Romo that weighs less than a pound and is less than five inches long and four inches wide.
As 8 News Now reported in a profile of the company last year, a smartphone can be programmed to operate Romo such that it can provide the human operator with a view inside a home, even if the user is thousands of miles away. Romo can also give a grandparent the ability to play with a grandchild in another state or even another country by using the robot as a toy.
By April 2012, the company had secured $1.5 million in financial backing from the likes of Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh and Stanford University. In his letter on Friday, Rinaudo wrote that the company had written "our largest single order (10,000 Romos) and last fall closed our $5 million Series A led by Sequioa." The investment reference was to Sequioa Capital, a venture capital firm in Menlo Park, Calif., that backs numerous tech companies.
Phone calls seeking comment from Romotive weren't immediately returned.
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