If you’ve played tennis, you know the worst part of the game is having to run around the court searching for missing balls once you’re out. But with Tennibot, the robot that picks up tennis balls, this inconvenience could be a thing of the past. This clever invention started in Auburn, and after a very successful investment funding round it’s on its way to big things. Read on to find out about the Auburn-based tech company and its new invention.
What is Tennibot?
Tennibot is the robot that picks up tennis balls. Its purpose may seem simple, but don’t let that fool you. Tennibot is a huge timesaver for tennis players, saving them an average of 25% of their time on the court according to Auburn News.
This autonomous tennis assistant combines computer vision and AI to find and pick up balls, so players can focus on hitting and not searching for lost balls. It is currently the only autonomous tennis assistant on the market and costs $850.
Tennibot gets even more innovative with its mobile app. It lets you customize where on the court Tennibot will clear, keeps track of how often you practice and counts the number of balls you’ve hit in a session.
The story behind the startup
It all started when co-founder Haitham Eletrabi was playing tennis one night and practicing with his ball machine. Eletrabi realized that he spent more time picking up tennis balls than actually hitting them, so he began thinking about how to fix the biggest flaw in his favorite sport.
Soon after, an Auburn University professor introduced him to Lincoln Wang, a recent Masters program graduate and fellow tennis fanatic that would become his business partner. They founded Tennibot in 2016 and spent years designing, prototyping and testing out their robot until finally, it was perfect.
Thanks to the City of Auburn’s incubator system at Auburn Center for Developing Industries (ACDI), Tennibot is now the leading tennis ball gathering method, according to publications including Time Magazine, BBC and the LA Times.
“We are proud of Tennibot’s success here in Auburn. Not only do they represent the great innovation out of Auburn University, but they demonstrate the effectiveness of having local incubators in an entire ecosystem to cultivate and nurture startups.”Mayor Ron Anders, City of Auburn
A successful investment funding round
Although the numbers of Tennibot’s recent funding round were not disclosed to the public, it is allegedly a hefty sum. One of their primary investors was Benson Capital, founded by New Orleans Saints and Pelicans owner Gayle Benson. Benson Capital also recently invested in Birmingham-based start-up Prepaid2Cash and Wyndy.
“We are thrilled to partner with the Tennibot team and help catapult the company to the next level. This investment aligns us with an impressive management team building state of the art robotics in the Gulf South.”Caroline Crumley, Benson Capital Partners Director
According to SportTechie, other investors that contributed to this investment round included venture capital firms Techstars, Untapped Capital and Underdog Labs. Thanks to the investments, Tennibot plans to increase its production and develop brand new features.
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