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Robin gets funding from MTD Products for robotic mowing franchise

May 23, 2018 -  By
Robin Robomow robotic mower

Robin Autopilot expects to grow its franchisee count this summer thanks to a $1 million round of funding led by mower-maker MTD Products.

Robin Autopilot closed a $1 million round of financing—led by a mower manufacturer—to grow a nationwide network of robotic mowing franchises.

MTD Products led the financing and was joined by several new and existing Robin investors, including Ken Murphy, former CEO of Mattress Firm. MTD, based in Valley City, Ohio, manufactures and distributes residential robotic mowers under its Cub Cadet, Robomow and Wolf-Garten brands. MTD acquired Robomow last summer.

“We are strong believers in the future of robotic mowing,” said MTD CEO Robert Moll. “Given the millions of U.S. consumers that outsource lawn maintenance, the full-service model offered by Robin will be key to driving adoption in this market.”

Robin has a supply agreement with MTD, but it does not require the franchise to exclusively install MTD robotic mowers, said Justin Crandall, CEO of Dallas-based Robin Autopilot. He added that he believes MTD’s robots provide the best combination of reliability; ability to handle all grass types; serviceability and warranty terms; data for fleet management and theft prevention; and price.

“That said, we continue to engage with all manufacturers and are free to use whichever product is best for the job,” he said. “So as new technologies are developed, or if someone else creates a better product, then we have the flexibility to use that in our business.”

Robin Autopilot has been featured on ABC’s Shark Tank, CBS This Morning, and as part of TechCrunch Disrupt’s Battlefield. In its first year, <ahref=”” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>Robin installed more than 200 robotic mowers in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Robin also has filed multiple patents for a robotic door that allows the mowers to drive through fences while keeping pets and kids safely inside.

The company recently awarded its first franchise in Kalamazoo, Mich., and expects to add “a significant number of locations” this summer.

“Our mission is to make lawn maintenance more reliable, affordable and eco-friendly for consumers,” Crandall said. “With over 1 million robots now safely mowing lawns in Europe, the time has come for U.S. consumers to benefit from this proven technology as part of a complete lawn maintenance service.”

Photo: Robin

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Marisa Palmieri

About the Author:

Marisa Palmieri is an experienced Green Industry editor who's won numerous awards for her coverage of the landscape and golf course markets from the Turf & Ornamental Communicators Association (TOCA), the Press Club of Cleveland and the American Society of Business Publication Editors (ASBPE). In 2007, ASBPE named her a Young Leader. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Journalism, cum laude, from Ohio University’s Scripps School of Journalism.

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